More than $1 million worth of cocaine that was recently found hidden in banana boxes at three Safeway locations in Western Washington was shipped from the company’s central warehouse in Auburn.
The shipments containing drugs were found at Safeway locations in Bellingham, Woodinville and Federal Way, said Sgt. Ryan Abbott, with the King County Sheriff’s Office.
Approximately 11 kilos, or about 24 pounds, of cocaine were found at the South 320th Street Safeway in Federal Way on Sunday, Aug. 18, said Cmdr. Kurt Schwan, spokesman for the Federal Way Police Department.
The Bellingham Safeway drug findings were also discovered that morning and Woodinville’s location was reported that evening, Abbott said.
Safeway produce workers at the Woodinville location were unpacking boxes of bananas on Aug. 18 when they found two boxes full of bricks covered in brown paper, Abbott said. The workers thought it might be drugs and called police. King County Sheriff detectives responded and tested the bricks, which they then found to be cocaine.
Detectives discovered 22 kilos, approximately 48.5 pounds, of cocaine at the Woodinville location, with an estimated street value of $550,000, Abbott said.
The shipment of the three banana boxes came from Safeway’s central warehouse in Auburn, at 2921 C St. SW, which also delivers to 144 stores on the West Coast, including California, Oregon and Washington, Abbott said.
“Safeway has been through all of their banana boxes, every single one. … They have not found any other issues or drugs or anything besides the three locations,” Abbott said.
It is unclear if the cocaine that was found in the banana boxes was stashed while the boxes were at the Auburn warehouse, or if the shipments arrived in Auburn with the cocaine already inside the boxes.
Detectives continue to work with local police, Valley Narcotics Enforcement Team and the regional Drug Enforcement Administration in the investigation.
The DEA did not respond to requests for comment.