Two bosses who ran a fruit and veg company accused of trafficking more than two tonnes of cocaine in fake asparagus tins have gone on trial in Germany.
The accused – named only as Turkish nationals Mustafa I., 59, and Orbay Y., 58 – are said to have stashed the drug in more than 46,000 cans, the court heard.
The pair’s 2.3 tonnes shipment from Peru was being tracked by a police in an international investigation called “Operation Poseidon”.
Unknown to the suspects, police secretly switched the cocaine – worth EUR 190 million (GBP 169 million) – with a harmless substitute on 30th August last year.
They then let the handover go ahead at Hamburg port and followed the truck to the pair’s warehouse in Cologne.
Officers seized the shipment and the suspects while they were driving the load to Rotterdam in the Netherlands, say prosecutors.
Police in Peru meanwhile seized 448 kilogrammes of cocaine in the small town of Mancora, as part of the same operation on 28th August.
They also seized firearms and vehicles and arrested four people, including an Italian and an Albanian citizen, named as Pasquale Bifulco and Kadri Cjoci.
The other two detainees were reportedly two Peruvians named as Luis Alberto Narbasya Huayanay, 57, and Elmer Cardenas Ramirez, 56.
The trial of Mustafa I. and Orbay Y. at Hamburg District Court is set to last until June.