By Calvin Palmer
An elderly Dutch man with a suitcase full of oranges told custom officers in Rome today he needed to keep up his vitamin C level.
Closer inspection revealed that the oranges had been stripped of their pulp and contained more than 13 pounds of cocaine.
Police arrested the 76-year-old on international drug trafficking charges.
The man arrived at Leonardo da Vinci Airport on a flight from Buenos Aires and said he was on his way back to the Netherlands after a vacation.
Police say the cocaine the man was carrying would have had a street value of €5 million ($6.6 million).
Yesterday Spanish police said they had smashed a drug trafficking ring that used senior citizens on luxury transatlantic cruises to smuggle cocaine into the country.
Two elderly women were detained at the port of Cadiz as they were about to unload cocaine they had picked up in Brazil.
Police seized 59 pounds of cocaine from the women’s cabin on the cruise ship. The street value was estimated at €23 million ($30.4 million).
The police operation resulted in nine arrests, including the suspected leader of the group who tried to flee to Brazil.