Police forces in Peru have seized a shipment of cocaine with a a street value of €85 million (£73 million) bearing the face and name of Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi . The shipment, weighing 1,417kg, was reportedly heading to Belgium, before it was intercepted by the anti-drug police force in Lima.
Each parcel of the class A drug contained the Argentinian forward’s face , his name and and a counterfeited version of his personal branding – a stylised ‘M’ logo that he has been using on social media for several years.
Criminals often package drugs up to look like popular brands, in order to make it less likely that anyone will inspect the parcels while they are transported.
According to reports, several hundred packages were also found bearing a knock-off of the official seal of the king of Spain Felipe VI.
This is not the first time that 29-year-old footballing superstar has had his identity fraudulently used by smugglers trying to peddle their wears, with crooks found to be selling a drug under the street name ‘Messi’ in 2015.
The Barcelona star’s legitimate endorsements are worth an estimated £20 million a year.