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Cocaine shipment found at United Nations in fake diplomatic pouch

United_Nations_Headquarters

United Nations headquarters in New York. (Reuters)

A shipment containing 16 kilograms of cocaine was seized last week at the U.N.'s mail intake center, a New York Police Department spokesman said Thursday.

Paul Browne, NYPD's chief spokesman, said the drug was in a white bag evidently masquerading as a diplomatic pouch that raised suspicions when it was being scanned because it was stamped with what looked like a poorly concocted version of the U.N. logo.

Browne said here was no name or address on the shipment sent from Mexico City through Cincinnati.

U.N. security officials called the NYPD and Drug Enforcement Administration, which confirmed the substance inside the shipment intercepted Jan. 16 was cocaine, the police spokesman said.

U.N. undersecretary-general for safety and security Gregory B. Starr told reporters Thursday evening that "there is nothing to indicate that this had anything to do with anybody at the United Nations."

Starr said the drug was actually stashed in two bags that were stamped with the sky-blue U.N. logo of a world map in 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, he added.

The U.N. official showed journalists a photograph of the bags that were seized, and compared them with a real diplomatic pouch used by the U.N., which is somewhat larger and made of a different material.

"This did not come from a United Nations facility," Starr said of the shipment. "It was not, in my opinion, not intended to go to a United Nations facility."

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