Any material handling professional can testify that the simple pallet is one of the unsung heroes of the logistics world.
In November, an international drug smuggling ring took advantage of the humble pallet's low profile when members molded thousands of pounds of raw cocaine into fake wooden pallets in an effort to import the narcotic from Colombia into Spain.
Fortunately, Spanish police were waiting. In a seizure at the Port of Valencia, they cut the locks on a shipping container that was purported to carry charcoal sacks on gray-colored pallets, according to The Telegraph (U.K.).
The shipment included some 12 tons of legitimate charcoal being shipped to a Spanish front company, but police intelligence and sharp-nosed sniffer dogs picked out the false pallets and confiscated about 3,300 pounds of the powdery drug, worth an estimated $350 million. The drug bust has led to 11 arrests in five countries, and allowed authorities to shut down an industrial-sized drug production lab, the newspaper reports.