CHARLESTON, S.C. — Two Lowcountry recreational fishermen ended their fishing trip late Sunday afternoon with an unexpected catch.
They pulled in a package floating in the water that appeared to be wrapped in black plastic and was later found what police officers said was presumed cocaine.
The fishermen, whom we are not identifying, were approximately offshore approximately 70 miles southeast of Charleston when they spotted debris floating and a school of Mahi-mahi jumping around it.
“We trolled past it,” one of the fishermen said. “Every time we passed it we caught a fish.”
After approximately three hours of fishing, the duo decided to see what the debris was and pulled it aboard their boat. When they looked inside the package, they immediately notified the Coast Guard, which immediately coordinated a response.
North Charleston Police officers met them at an area marina and examined the contents of the package, estimating it to be between 30 and 50 kilos of cocaine.
Coast Guard Lt. j.g. Phillip VanderWeit said the amount of cocaine found could carry a street value of between $750,000 and $1 million.
“It definitely doesn’t happen off the Charleston coast every day,” VanderWeit said. “It’s a bit more common further south, whether in the Caribbean or the South Pacific.”
The Coast Guard has partnered with Customs and Border Protection, the Drug Enforcement Agency and local authorities, he said.
“They absolutely did the right thing in notifying the Coast Guard,” VanderWeit said.
The investigation will attempt to determine the source of the drugs, he said.