Colombia’s Efforts to Keep Cocaine Out of Valentine’s Day Flowers

Photo: Flickr/ECohen

As much as 330,000 pounds of flowers are exported from Colombia each Valentine’s Day with the aide of special security protocols aimed to keep cocaine out of these shipments.

“Without a doubt we’re a target,” said Augusto Solano, president of the Colombian flower exporters’ association.

The process begins early in January, once the flowers arrive at the airport in refrigerated trucks. Some 100 police officers equipped with 15 drug-sniffing dogs and electronic scanners go over each and every shipment. However, this doesn’t stop the efforts of Colombian drug cartels who managed to sneak 200 pounds of cocaine into shipments of flower boxes last year.

Not too shabby.

Valentine’s day is big business for Colombia, with over 130,000 people working around the clock, shipping an estimated 500 million flowers each season.


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