cocaine swiss nesspresso
© Police Cantonale Fribourg/AFP/Getty
White coffee … Photograph released by Swiss police of one of the five containers in which more than 500kg of cocaine was found.
Workers at plant in Romont alert authorities to mysterious white powder found in sacks of coffee beans

Swiss police have seized more than 500kg of cocaine from a shipment of coffee beans delivered to a Nespresso plant.

Workers at the plant in Romont, in the western Swiss canton of Fribourg, alerted authorities to a mysterious white powder found in sacks of coffee beans, police said.

Staff at the coffee capsule maker, owned by Swiss food giant Nestlé, "found an undetermined white substance when they unloaded the freshly delivered sacks of coffee beans", Fribourg police said on Thursday.

Police analysis determined the substance was cocaine. A search of five shipping containers "delivered the same day by train allowed for the seizure of more than 500kg of this drug," police added.

Police said they set up a large security perimeter around the factory during the operation, which also involved a large contingent of customs officers.

The units containing the drugs were isolated, and the substance did not contaminate production at the plant, the statement said.

The initial investigation indicated the shipment originated in Brazil, police said, adding that the seized cocaine was determined to be more than 80% pure, with an estimated street value of over 50m Swiss francs (£41m).

"It appears that all of the drugs were destined for the European market," police said.