Hurricane Dorian Washes Drugs Ashore, Officials Warn

By Kelly Burch 09/05/19

Kilos of cocaine have been found on Florida beaches in Hurricane Dorian's wake. 

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a hurricane hitting the beach
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As Hurricane Dorian rips through the Atlantic Ocean off the southeastern coast of the United States, it is washing ashore shipments of cocaine that were meant to be smuggled into the country, officials say. 

Cocaine On Cocoa Beach

In Cocoa Beach, Florida, one storm watcher found a package with 15 kilos of cocaine worth an estimated $300,000 on Friday (Aug. 30). A few days later, one brick of cocaine was found on a beach in Melbourne, Florida, about a half hour away from Cocoa Beach. That package of drugs was labeled “dinamitar," which means "dynamite" in Spanish.

Both were found while the hurricane was still well offshore, and police warned that more drugs could wash up in the coming week as Dorian passes. 

“There is a possibility that more will come onshore. Especially now with these conditions. It could be coming from anywhere,” said Manny Hernandez, a spokesman for the Cocoa Beach Police Department, according to USA Today

Alert Authorities

Hernandez said that people who find suspected drugs or other suspicious packages should not touch them, and should immediately alert authorities. 

The Cocoa Beach Police Department initially responded to the call about the 15 kilos of cocaine, and later got federal customs agents involved in the investigation. 

It’s not wholly unusual for cocaine and other drugs to wash up on Florida’s shores, since many drug cartels smuggle products into the U.S. using boats and submarines. In January of this year a fisherman in the Florida Keys found a bale of cocaine bobbing in the water when he returned to the dock after a day of fishing. The package contained about 20 kilos of cocaine, worth half a million dollars. 

In June, two fishermen in South Carolina snagged an even bigger catch, when they found a bundle of cocaine worth $1 million. 

“We trolled past it. Every time we passed it we caught a fish,” one of the men told WCSC. A school of mahi-mahi fish were swimming alongside the bundle. The North Charleston Police Department met the men at the pier and estimated the value of the cocaine. Coast Guard Lt. j.g. Phillip VanderWeit said that finding drugs that far north of fairly uncommon. 

“It definitely doesn’t happen off the Charleston coast every day,” he said. “It’s a bit more common further south, whether in the Caribbean or the south Pacific.”

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

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