BELLINGHAM — Bellingham Safeway employees made an unexpected discovery of approximately 23 kilos of cocaine while unloading a shipment of bananas on Sunday, Aug. 18, police say. Similar finds were reportedly found in two other Washington state cities.

Bellingham Police Lt. Claudia Murphy told The Bellingham Herald rumors about the cocaine being found in a banana box at the Safeway located at 1275 E. Sunset Dr., “is actually not a hoax.”

The employees immediately called 911 after uncovering more than 50 pounds of cocaine, which Murphy estimated had value of $500,000, and Bellingham Police responded and took custody of the drugs.

“We are working closely with federal law enforcement on this, and ... are not in a position to provide comment during an active investigation,” Safeway spokesperson Sara Osborne told The Herald.

Murphy said the case was referred to the DEA, which also is working two other similar incidents of cocaine found in banana shipments to Safeway stores in Washington state.

According to King County Sheriff’s Office post, employees at a Woodinville Safeway discovered 22 kilos of cocaine worth approximately $550,000 in two of its banana boxes. The cocaine was discovered while employees were unstacking boxes in the back of the store.

“Safeway has been extremely cooperative with police and employees have searched through all other incoming boxes of bananas,” the post said. “Cocaine was also found inside similar produce containers in Safeway stores in Bellingham, and Federal Way.”

The DEA did not respond to a request for more information.

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