$56 Million Of Cocaine Smuggled Through Coca-Cola Factory May Reflect A Rise In Cocaine Demand

Massive cocaine seizure in France may reflect a recent rise in the demand for the illicit drug worldwide.


A shipment of cocaine was discovered in Southern France, smuggled inside an orange juice shipment at a Coca-Cola factory.

The shipment contained 815 pounds of cocaine – that’s over $56 million worth – trafficked in from Costa Rica. According to the AP, the Coca-Cola factory in Signes produces concentrates for various Coke products. A spokesman for Coca-Cola France said that employees immediately notified authorities and an official investigation is now in progress.

Time Magazine reports that there have been a few major smuggling busts in the past few weeks. Three Canadians were arrested in Australia after smuggling $22 million worth of the powder onto a cruise ship.



The fact that there have been multiple seizures of huge numbers of cocaine may be pointing to a larger problem- increasing demand for cocaine.

According to the United Nations World Drug Report of 2016 [PDF], the demand for cocaine between 1998 and 2014 grew from 14 million to 18.3 mcocainetrendsillion drug users. Those numbers are attributed to a growth in population, however, and the percentage of cocaine users per population remains stabilized. But an increase in population, nevertheless, creates the need for more coca plant cultivation.

In fact, the World Drug Report also states that global production of cocaine can be estimated for 2014 at “746 ton (using the old conversion ratio) and 943 tons (using the new conversion ratio); those values are slightly higher than in the previous year but still 24-27% lower than the peak in 2007, and thus back to the levels reported in the late 1990s. There are, however indications that the overall upward trend observed in 2014 continued into 2015.”

Around 90% of all cocaine is seized in the Americas – 60% of which from South America – and only 9% originating from Europe.  The total quantity of cocaine seized from South America doubled from 1998 to 2014. Costa Rica, the origin of the cocaine uncovered in the Coca-Cola factory, is one of the most frequently mentioned departure countries for shipments of cocaine.

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