Cocaine packages receive diplomatic treatment at UN

AFP, United Nations

Sat, Jan 28, 2012 - Page 4

A 16kg consignment of cocaine lost by Mexican drug traffickers has turned up in an unlikely place — the UN in New York.

Police and UN officials on Thursday told how two fake UN diplomatic pouches containing drugs — which experts said had a street value of more than US$2 million — sparked an alert when they were delivered by accident to the global body’s headquarters.

The bags, which had the UN symbol printed on them, were shipped from Mexico through the DHL shipping company’s center in Cincinnati, Ohio, New York police department deputy commissioner Paul Browne said.

However, the bags had no address on them, nor any return to sender details.

“It is my understanding that because there was no addressee, the DHL just thought well that’s the UN symbol so we should ship it on to UN headquarters and let them figure out who it was supposed to go to,” Browne said.

The two UN bags were “obvious fakes” and were quickly intercepted by security staff when they arrived on Jan. 16. Inside were 14 hard cover books hollowed out to hide the cocaine.

“Somebody in Mexico is probably in trouble now having let a significant amount of cocaine out of their possession,” Browne said.

UN Assistant Secretary-General Gregory Starr told reporters there was no evidence that anyone from the UN was linked to the bags.

“In my humble opinion this was the work of narcotics traffickers that were trying to ship something into the US and their plan must have gone wrong,” said Starr, who is in charge of UN security.