The anonymous couple, aged 58 and 59, purchased several dresses from an online retailer in the Netherlands. This past May, the couple received two packages from the Netherlands — but instead of dresses, one of the packages contained several plastic bags stuffed with what at first appeared to be decorative stones. After a quick inspection, the couple realized that the “stones” were actually tiny purple pills.
Faced with the options of becoming drug dealers, starting an underground club, or turning the drugs over to the authorities, the couple made the safest choice. On May 7, the couple returned the package to their local post office in Linz. Postal officials notified the police, who discovered that the package was originally meant to be delivered to Glasgow, Scotland.
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"The originally planned cozy breakfast was quickly over and to the horror of the couple, it turned out that, though one of the packages did contain the two dresses, the second however had 24,800 Ecstasy tablets worth about €500,000," Upper Austria police said in a statement, CNN reports. "The [post] office was equally astonished, which is why the police, and subsequently the narcotics department of the City Police Command Linz, was informed."
Police Scotland and the UK National Crime Agency launched a joint investigation into the incident. In July, cops searched the address where the pills were supposed to be delivered to, but did not make any arrests in connection with the search. Police Scotland noted that the UK value of the drugs was only estimated at £165,000 ($205,000). The investigation is reportedly ongoing.
The package originated from the Netherlands, one of the world's largest drug producers, but was re-routed from Scotland to Austria due to a “technical error” by postal employees.
Earlier this year, Dutch customs officials reported that the amount of ecstasy and amphetamines that have been discovered in the mail has tripled from 302 pounds in 2016 to over 1,000 pounds last year. Officials believe these figures only represent a small portion of drugs being shipped out of the country. Most of these shipments were sent to buyers in Europe, the US, Australia, and New Zealand, who likely purchased these drugs via the dark web.