Last updated at 3:46 PM on 27th January 2012
A shipment of 16 kilos of cocaine – with a street value of $2million (£1.3million) – which was crudely mocked up to look like a diplomatic pouch has been seized at the United Nations’ mail centre.
The white bag raised suspicions when it was being scanned at the New York building because it was stamped with what looked like a poorly concocted version of the UN logo.
The UN has insisted the arrival of the bag was a ‘mistake’ and that someone in Mexico, from where it said the bag was sent, would be ‘in big trouble’.
But online conspiracy theorists have claimed there is a cover-up – saying that the bag was in fact intended for a UN employee as part of an elaborate drug-smuggling scam.
New York Police Department spokesman Paul Browne, said the drug was in a white bag and there was no name or address on the shipment sent from Mexico City through Cincinnati.
He said: ‘It is my understanding that because there was no addressee, the DHL just thought ‘Well, that’s the UN symbol so we should ship it on to UN headquarters and let them figure out who it was supposed to go to.
‘Somebody in Mexico is probably in trouble now, having let a significant amount of cocaine out of their possession.’
UN security officials called the NYPD and Drug Enforcement Administration after the shipment was intercepted on January 16.
UN undersecretary-general for safety and security Gregory Starr told reporters that ‘there is nothing to indicate that this had anything to do with anybody at the United Nations’.
He said: ‘This did not come from a United Nations facility. It was not, in my opinion, intended to go to a United Nations facility.
‘In my humble opinion, this was the work of narcotics traffickers that were trying to ship something into the United States and their plan must have gone wrong.’
He said the drug was actually stashed in two bags that were stamped with the sky-blue U.N. logo of a world map.
It was an apparent effort to masquerade as diplomatic pouches, which are not supposed to be inspected.
Inside the bag, the drug was hidden in hollowed-out notebooks.
The UN official showed journalists a photograph of the bags that were seized.
And he compared them with a real diplomatic pouch used by the UN, which is somewhat larger and made of a different material.