Police in Mexico have uncovered an unexpected ingredient in a batch of salsa – in opening the jars they discovered they contained bags of cocaine.

Having been shipped from Ecuador, hundreds of tubs of the spicy salsa were seized, originally intended for the country's Sinaloa state – the previous home of incarcerated drugs kingpin Joaquin 'El Chapo' Guzman who heads the Sinaloa cartel, one of the largest narcotics gangs in the world.

El Chapo hit headlines in 2015 after escaping from prison in Mexico after he dug a tunnel out of the jail and fled – managing to evade capture for more than six months, during which time it is claimed he entered and left the US several times.

It is believed the seized drugs would have been delivered to the cartel in Sinaloa before being smuggled by the gang into the US. This is a common route for drugs coming from South America as their street value in the US is far higher than anywhere else in Latin America.

The cocaine was discovered in the Pacific state of Colima yesterday (13 July), and footage released by marines there showed the salsa tubs being cut open and cocaine being pulled out from inside.

Officials told Reuters that 217 salsa tubs, containing a bag of cocaine each, were seized by authorities – weighing around 132 pounds per tub. Police refused to comment on the size or weight of the cocaine haul itself.