Thursday, March 12, 2009

Three Discover Cocaine in Fruit From Local Market

By Patricia Adams

A trip to the fruit and vegetable market ended in a phone call to police by one Richmond Hill woman over the weekend.

Harlene Woodman purchased a bitter melon at the Banana Country Inc. Fruits and Vegetable store at 120-01 Liberty Avenue on Sunday afternoon. Arriving home and preparing the melon for cooking, the woman discovered a clear plastic bag containing what appeared to be a white powdery substance.

Woodman immediately called 911 and the FDNY, first at the scene, where it was determined the material was not hazardous but possibly cocaine.

A duty captain from the 106 was notified and upon responding to the Liberty Avenue location established a crime scene. Canine units were used and no further contraband was discovered at the store.

According to police sources, two other individuals, one in the 102 and the other in the 133 precinct, made reports of similar experiences with the same fruit purchased at the same location.

Police who interviewed the owner of Banana Country, Tae Hyun Kil, and all of the store’s workers, said all were cooperating in the investigation.

Law enforcement officials believe that Kil, who resides in Bayside, was not involved with the drugs at his location, and that the three melons were part of a much larger parcel of smuggled fruit and mistakenly wound up in Kil’s delivery.

The investigation is ongoing.

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