Woman Discovers 50-Pound Cocaine Block On Florida Beach

By Kelly Burch 11/15/17

The cocaine was found near a small sailboat from the Florida Keys that washed ashore during Hurricane Irma.

woman walking beach with sandals in hand

Beach combers are usually looking for seashells and sand dollars when they stroll along the ocean front, but one Florida woman got much more than she bargained for when she stumbled upon nearly 50 pounds of cocaine during a beach walk. 

The package was discovered by a woman who was walking along the beach in Melbourne, Florida, just near Palm Beach. She alerted authorities and officers from the Brevard County Sheriff’s Office are now investigating where the package may have come from, according to WFTV9

The cocaine was found near a small sailboat from the Florida Keys that washed ashore during Hurricane Irma. It was unclear whether the cocaine might have been associated with the boat. With the intense hurricane season this year, lots of debris has been washing up on Florida beaches. 

“Everything is washing ashore; I don’t know what it is,” Bob Downs, who was walking on the beach, told the TV station. 

Florida is a popular spot for smugglers, but lost cocaine smuggling—and misplaced packages—is more often associated with the south of the state. 

“You would think that South Florida would get the cocaine washing up—not middle, or central Florida. It’s a surprise,” said Richard Threlfall, who was visiting Melbourne Beach. 

Other residents said that investigating was a waste of time since the cocaine could have come from anywhere. “You could put together any story, but none of them are good,” said Melbourne Beach resident Heather Pepe-Dillon.

This isn’t the first time a large bundle of cocaine has been found on a Florida beach. In 2013, 25 kilograms of cocaine worth about $7.5 million was found on the sand in Saint Augustine, which is in northern Florida. That bundle was found by volunteers who were working to rescue sea turtles, according to News4Jax

"There is a drug dealer of some level who is very unhappy," said St. Johns County Sheriff's Office Cmdr. Chuck Mulligan at the time. "He's lost really a great deal of value in the cocaine.”

According to some officials, more cocaine is coming into Florida now than ever before, fueled by an increase in production in Colombia. 

“We’ve never seen cocaine production at these numbers, which tells you there is more cocaine being produced now than at the height of the Medellín and Cali cartels,” Justin Miller, intelligence chief for the DEA’s Miami field division, told The Sun Sentinel in May. “That’s significant.”

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