A special delivery for UN headquarters in New York

The United Nations in New York has admitted receiving a valuable gift for which it neither asked nor intends to keep.

And in a display of haste rarely seen at the headquarters of world diplomacy, it has already washed its hands of the consignment and sent it to police.

Two diplomatic pouches with suspect UN logos arrived at the body's post room earlier this month, bearing neither an addressee nor the name of the sender. They contained 35lb of powdered cocaine with a street value of about $2m (£1.3m) concealed inside hollowed-out notebooks. The UN immediately sent them to the New York Police Department (NYPD).

"This was not connected to the United Nations, and that's why the host government, the city authorities in the shape of the NYPD, were brought in to assist," Martin Nesirky, the chief spokesman for Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, said.

The shipment came from Mexico via a DHL office in Cincinnati, Ohio. UN pouches are not usually subject to inspection. "Because there was no addressee, the DHL just thought 'well, that's the UN symbol so we should ship it on to UN headquarters and let them figure out who it was supposed to go to'," the NYPD Deputy Commissioner Paul Browne said.

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