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Boater finds $1 million in cocaine off Florida Keys

Twenty-one packages of cocaine were found off the Florida Keys on Saturday by a recreational boater. Photo courtesy of Monroe County Sheriff's Office/Facebook
1 of 4 | Twenty-one packages of cocaine were found off the Florida Keys on Saturday by a recreational boater. Photo courtesy of Monroe County Sheriff's Office/Facebook

June 19 (UPI) -- A boater in the Florida Keys has found nearly two dozen individually wrapped packages of suspected cocaine, according to authorities.

The 21 packages, which were adorned with a picture of a large eagle, each weigh 1 kilogram, or 2.2 pounds, and were discovered by a recreational boater at around 12 p.m. Saturday about seven miles off Islamorada, a village consisting of six of the Florida Keys, the Monroe County Sheriff's Office said in a statement.

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The roughly 65 pounds of narcotics have an estimated street value of more than $1 million, Samuel Briggs, acting chief patrol agent of the U.S. Border Patrol -- Miami Sector, said on X.

"We appreciate the support from good samaritans in our community," he said.

The narcotics were to be turned over to the U.S. Border Patrol.

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It is not uncommon for drugs to be discovered in waters off the Florida coast.

At 10 a.m. on Wednesday, a person removing trash from a beach in Key Largo found a single brick of suspected cocaine, the Monroe County Sheriff's Office said in a statement. The package was decorated with what appeared to be a photograph of a dog with the word "Pinky" on it.

Earlier this month, a "good samaritan" in the Florida Keys discovered a suspicious package floating at sea that contained 66 pounds of cocaine that had a street value of more than $1 million, Briggs said on X.

In May, 65 pounds of cocaine were discovered on a Florida Keys beach.

And in August, 70 pounds of cocaine wrapped in cellophane and adorned with a picture of a pink and blue butterfly were found by a recreational boater in the Florida Keys.

The drugs, valued at $1.1 million, were found in a package adrift on the Atlantic Ocean. The recreational boater was Tampa Mayor Jane Castor, who had been with the Tampa Police Department for 31 years.

According to the Drug Enforcement Administration, smuggling by sea is one of the three main channels criminal syndicate groups traffic drugs.

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The DEA states that smugglers target shipping containers, often hiding drugs among cargo items or hide them in the hull and fuel tanks of smaller ships. They have also created hidden compartments that they attach to the underside of vessels to hide their illegal wares.

Earlier this month, Coast Guard Cutter Charles David Jr. offloaded 245 kilograms, or 540 pounds, of cocaine and nine suspected smugglers to Drug Enforcement Administration authorities at Coast Guard Base San Juan, Puerto Rico.

The Coast Guard said the drugs were aboard a vessel located about 75 nautical miles south of St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands.

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