UNITED NATIONS — A 16 kilo (35.5 pounds) consignment of cocaine that Mexican drug traffickers recently lost has turned up in an unlikely place -- the United Nations in New York.
Police and UN officials Thursday described how two fake UN bags containing the drugs -- which experts said had a street value of about $2 million -- set off a security alert when they were delivered, apparently by accident, to the the global body's headquarters.
The bags, which had the UN symbol printed on them, were shipped from Mexico through the DHL delivery company's center in Cincinnati, Ohio, Deputy Commissioner Paul Browne of the New York Police Department told AFP.
But 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.
But the two UN bags were "obvious fakes" and were quickly intercepted by security staff when they arrived on January 16. The bags contained about 14 hard cover books which had been hollowed to create space for the cocaine.
"The working theory now is that possibly it was never meant to have left Mexico at all," the deputy commissioner said, adding that the bags were "a bad fake".
"Somebody in Mexico is probably in trouble now having let a significant amount of cocaine out of their possession," he added.
UN officials said the bags were like flour sacks but were the wrong color or material to be any kind of official bag. "It was not a diplomatic pouch. That I can say categorically," UN spokesman Martin Nesirky told reporters.