Fisherman Reels In Cocaine

By Kelly Burch 01/03/19

The fisherman found a bale of cocaine worth a reported $500,000.

Fisherman reeling in a big bale of cocaine

A south Florida fisherman got a surprise catch when he spotted a bale of cocaine after returning from a day on the ocean. 

According to the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office, which covers the Florida Keys, a fisherman noticed something floating beneath the docks when he returned from a day out at sea. When he cut into the package and saw white powder, he alerted authorities. 

Sheriff’s Office Deputy Martin Digrius and Coast Guard officials responded, and the US Border Patrol also arrived on the scene. Inside the plastic package, authorities found 25 smaller packages, which contained 40-60 pounds of cocaine, the sheriff’s department said. According to The Miami Herald, the cocaine was worth about $500,000. 

Cocaine use has been rising, especially as the drug becomes more commonly used alongside opioids. The amount of cocaine seized by the Coast Guard has been increasing: In 2015, the agency seized 145 tons of the drug and detained 503 people; by 2017 those numbers had risen to 225 tons and 708 suspects, according to The Miami Herald.

Intercepting cocaine in the ocean — or even washed up on beaches — isn’t wholly unusual in Florida and on the West Coast, but it still makes headlines. 

In December of 2017, Coast Guard sailors rescued a sea turtle that was floating amid 1,800 pounds of cocaine, worth about $53 million. 

"After a period of lengthy questioning, it was determined the turtle did not have any useful information. We released him on his own recognizance after he agreed not to return to these waters again. #turtlesmuggler,” the agency posted on Twitter

They followed up with a more somber note:

"In all seriousness, we love our sea creatures and do everything we can to help them when we see them in distressed situations. Additionally, during this patrol nearly seven tons of illicit narcotics with a street value over $135 million was confiscated."

Intercepting cocaine in the ocean before it lands in the US can help save lives, Acting US Attorney Alana Robinson said in September 2017

“The seizure of this cocaine means tens of thousands of pounds won’t make it to our communities and hundreds of millions of dollars won’t make it into cartel coffers,” she said. 

“To drug traffickers who may think they are invisible in the middle of what seems to be a vast, empty ocean: You are not alone. We are doing everything we can to prevent you from using the high seas as your personal freeway.”

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Kelly Burch writes about addiction and mental health issues, particularly as they affect families. Follow her on TwitterFacebook, and LinkedIn.