A Florida detective was fishing 20 miles offshore when he reeled in a bundle. Much to his shock, it contained 25 bricks of uncut cocaine. The cocaine had a street value of $2.5 million before it is cut, but once cut, could be worth $10-$12 million.
The name of the detective is being concealed to protect his identity. He is currently working with federal authorities to determine the owner and the original source of the cocaine.
This situation, while rare in Florida, has been observed elsewhere. Drug traffickers commonly use waterways to transport their drugs. When the authorities are closing in on them, they will often throw the drugs overboard and retrieve them later.
In Belgium, doing this has become a tactic to evade customs. Smugglers have been increasingly throwing illegal goods over the sides of the ships, so their accomplices can retrieve them later.
In March 2015, Belgian police found more than 2,000 pounds of cocaine floating 15 miles off shore from Ostend. The drugs had an estimated street value of $56 million. The drugs were initially discovered by a pilot boat that transports people to and from ships. The boat was conducting maneuvers when its personnel noticed duffel bags with 16 sealed packages. The police used a tugboat with a crane to retrieve the drugs.
Belgian magistrate Ken Witmas was quoted in Het Niieuwsblad as saying that more and more traffickers are preemptively ditching their cargo as the chance of getting caught in the ports increases. Ostend has become a transit point for French dealers to buy drugs smuggled in from the Netherlands.
This was the third such discovery in Belgium within several weeks. More than 2,600 pounds of cocaine were found in the sea in December, and then 1,770 pounds were discovered in January.