Authorities confiscated a massive bale of cocaine Sunday after a passerby spotted the drugs floating in the waters off the coast of Pensacola, Florida.
An unnamed individual notified local authorities Saturday evening about the massive haul of drugs floating in the sea, sparking a multi-agency response effort. Officials with the U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Customs and Border Protection and several local police departments searched the waters throughout the night, ultimately retrieving the drugs from the Gulf of Mexico Sunday, reports WJHG.
The total seizure of cocaine weighed in at 35 kilos, or nearly 80 pounds. Authorities did not give a statement detailing where the cocaine shipment may have originated. (RELATED: Global Opium And Cocaine Production Has Never Been Higher)
Large quantities of narcotics continue to infiltrate the U.S. due to the relentless efforts of traffickers. Authorities in a Texas community stumbled onto a massive shipment of cocaine being smuggled inside a golf bag during a traffic stop Thursday.
Officers with the Cameron County Sheriff’s Department pulled over a vehicle in Harlingen at the intersection of Bass Boulevard and West Business 83 Thursday evening for a routine violation. Officers searched the car after becoming suspicious, finding roughly 49 pounds of cocaine stashed inside a golf bag and an ice cooler.
Officials suspect the narcotics were being trafficked out of the Rio Grande Valley region for broader distribution.
Cocaine is increasingly being linked to drug overdose deaths in the U.S. due to dealers cutting supplies with synthetic opioids. Cocaine deaths spiked by 52 percent nationally between 2015 and 2016, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, following many years of relatively stable numbers.
Officials estimated cocaine is now killing about 13,000 Americans each year, up from 6,700 in 2015.
Overall, drug overdoses are the leading cause of accidental death for Americans under age 50, killing more than 64,000 people in 2016.
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