Tampa Mayor’s Fishing Trip Turns Into a Cocaine Bust

Tampa Mayor Jane Castor had an unexpected catch while fishing with her family in the Florida Keys last month. She spotted and hauled in a package containing 70 pounds of cocaine, worth about $1.1 million, according to the U.S. Border Patrol.

Tampa Mayor’s Fishing Trip

A Microwave-Sized Package of Drugs

Castor was fishing for mahi-mahi off the coast of the Florida Keys on July 23, when she noticed a black package floating in the water. It was about the size of a microwave, and had a purple butterfly stamp on it. She saved the location of the find on her watch, and contacted the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office to report the drugs. She then pulled the package onto her recreational boat, and waited for the authorities to arrive.

The package contained 25 bricks of cocaine, each weighing about 2.8 pounds. The U.S. Border Patrol agents from the Miami Sector took custody of the drugs, and thanked Castor for her cooperation. The mayor’s office confirmed the incident on Tuesday, and said that Castor was never off duty.

A Rare but Not Unprecedented Discovery

The U.S. Border Patrol said that finding such a large amount of cocaine in the ocean was rare, but not unprecedented. They said that drug smugglers often use boats or planes to transport narcotics across international waters, and sometimes they lose or dump their cargo due to weather conditions, mechanical failures, or law enforcement presence.

The agency said that they appreciate the ongoing support from the boating community, and encourage them to report any suspicious activity to local authorities. They also warned that handling unknown packages could be dangerous, as they could contain hazardous materials or explosives.

According to the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), cocaine is one of the most commonly seized drugs in Florida, along with marijuana and methamphetamine. The DEA said that cocaine is mainly sourced from Colombia, and smuggled through Mexico and Central America. The drug has a high demand and profitability in the U.S., especially in large metropolitan areas.

More Cocaine Found by Lobster Hunters

Castor was not the only one who stumbled upon cocaine in the Florida Keys last month. On Sunday, a group of lobster hunters found a brick of cocaine while diving near Islamorada. They also reported it to the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office, who turned it over to the U.S. Border Patrol.

The brick weighed about 2.4 pounds, and had a street value of about $40,000, according to the sheriff’s office. It also had a purple butterfly stamp on it, similar to the one found by Castor.

The sheriff’s office said that it was not clear if the two incidents were related, or if there were more packages of cocaine in the water. They advised anyone who finds drugs in the ocean to call 911 immediately, and not to touch or move them.

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