Fishermen Find $1 Million Worth of Cocaine off South Carolina Coast

Paula Liu
By Paula Liu
June 3USshare
Fishermen Find $1 Million Worth of Cocaine off South Carolina Coast
Bales of cocaine interdicted by the Coast Guard Cutter Tampa (WMEC-902) crew in the Eastern Pacific Ocean Feb. 20, 2019. (Coast Guard Photo)

Two fishermen reeled in packages containing approximately 66- to 100- pounds of cocaine worth up to $1 million while fishing off the coast of South Carolina on June 2, according to multiple reports.

The men were approximately 70 miles southeast of Charleston when they noticed a package— wrapped in what appeared to be plastic—along with a number of Mahi-Mahi fish swimming around it, floating in the ocean, according to WCSC Live 5 News.

“We trolled past it,” one of the fishermen told the news outlet. “Every time we passed it, we caught a fish.”

After about three hours of fishing, the men decided to find out what the package was and pulled it aboard their boat to take a closer look, according to WCSC Live 5 News. Upon opening it, they immediately called the Coast Guard.

The North Charleston Police met the fishermen at a marina to examine the package and determined it to be cocaine.

The package contained 30 bricks of cocaine weighing between 66 to 111 pounds. The estimated street value is between $750,000 and $1 million, according to Fox 8 Local News.

“It definitely doesn’t happen off the Charleston coast every day,” Coast Guard Lt. j.g. Phillip VanderWeit said, according to WCSC Live 5 News. “It’s a bit more common further south, whether in the Caribbean or the South Pacific.”

VanderWeit said the fishermen did the right thing by informing the Coast Guard of what they found.

The Coast Guard is working together with Customs and Border Protection, the Drug Enforcement Agency, and local authorities in an investigation to determine the source of the narcotics, according to the news outlet.

$53 Million Worth of Cocaine

The U.S. Coast Guard found a sea turtle trapped in cords tying together 1,800 pounds of cocaine on Nov. 19, 2018.

The drugs were first spotted by a military plane over the eastern Pacific Ocean on Nov. 19, according to the Miami Herald.

The Coast Guard then went out to search the narcotics and found a turtle entangled in cords that strung together 26 packages of cocaine worth $53 million, NBC News reported.

Coast guard personnel were able to cut through the cords that were tightly wrapped around the turtle’s neck and fins.

“There were some marks on her neck, so she may have been there a day or two,” Commander Jose Diaz told NBC News.

In total, the team found 75 feet of cord trapping the turtle. They removed it all to prevent other sea life from getting entangled in it.

The cocaine was found floating in the water, without a smuggling vessel in sight.

“They probably felt the heat coming and got rid of it,” said Diaz of whoever lost the drugs, via NBC News.

NTD staff writer Colin Fredericson contributed to this article.