Federal Way Safeway gets cocaine shipment along with its bananas

Federal Way Safeway employees got more than bananas when they discovered a cocaine shipment hidden in fruit boxes Sunday.

Employees at the grocery chain’s Bellingham and Woodinville outlets made similar finds worth at least $1 million, police say.

Federal Way police say 24 pounds of illegal drugs were found at the South 320th Street Safeway on Sunday. The drugs were in boxes bearing “CK” labels.

It’s unknown what CK refers to or where the cocaine was intended to go.

“If we had to speculate, we’d say the contact that was supposed to have pulled the contraband out of the shipment either missed it all together or feared arrest at the time and let it continue on without attempting to intercept it,” said Federal Way Police spokesman Kurt Schwan.

The Federal Way case is being investigated by the regional DEA/Valley Narcotics Enforcement Team, Schwan said.

In Woodinville, 48.5 pounds of cocaine were found Sunday night by two employees unstacking boxes, according to the King County Sheriff’s Office. The street value was determined to be $550,000.

“This is an ongoing investigation as detectives try to determine where the bananas came from,” a post from the King County Sheriff’s Office said on Facebook. “Safeway has been extremely cooperative with police and employees have searched through all other incoming boxes of bananas.”

In Bellingham, Safeway employees found approximately 50 pounds of cocaine while unloading a shipment of bananas on Sunday. They immediately called 911.

Bellingham Police Lt. Claudia Murphy estimated the drugs had a value of $500,000. Murphy said the case was referred to the DEA, which also is working the two other similar incidents.

“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 Bellingham Herald.

The Bellingham Herald contributed to this story.

Related stories from Tacoma News Tribune

Craig Sailor has worked for The News Tribune for 20 years as a reporter, editor and photographer. He previously worked at The Olympian and at other newspapers in Nevada and California.