- Hearse is carrying half a ton of caviar
- Beluga caviar can go for $1,500 a kilogram
(CNN)Police in Russia's Far East suspected something was fishy right from the start.
After all, why would a hearse be racing through the countryside?
"The van's driver explained to the police patrol he was hurrying to deliver the body of a woman from Komsomolsk-on-Amur to Khabarovsk," police spokeswoman Yelena Alekseyeva, told Russia's TASS news agency.
Not convinced, police searched the hearse. There was no body, but authorities found something else entirely: more than half a ton of caviar (500 kilograms) packed inside a coffin.
The men with the funeral home were hardly working for scale.
They said they were offered nearly $400 (25,000 rubles) to make the delivery, Russia's interior ministry said. They claimed not to know what they were carrying.
Imperial class beluga caviar can go for about $700 a pound, or $1,500 a kilogram.
Russia banned the commercial fishing of sturgeon in 2002, but tons of the black fish roe are produced each year at special farms. Many more tons are produced illegally.