The mayor of Tampa, Florida, found a big catch of another sort while she was fishing off the Florida Keys: 70 pounds of cocaine floating in the Atlantic Ocean.
Mayor Jane Castor made the discovery July 23 on a fishing trip with her family. Castor, a longtime Tampa police officer and the city’s first female police chief, immediately recognized the package wrapped in layers of plastic as cocaine, city spokesperson Adam Smith said Tuesday.
Smith confirmed the details of the find, which were reported in the Tampa Bay Times, to NBC News.
Smith also shared a U.S. Border Patrol post on the platform X, formerly known as Twitter, that showed dozens of pounds of cocaine “discovered by a recreational boater in the #FloridaKeys.” The drug haul had an estimated street value of $1.1 million, the post said.
After Castor spotted the cocaine, her family lifted the package, about the size of a microwave oven, onto her boat. A rip in the package showed it was more tightly packaged in bricks, she told the Tampa Bay Times.
They discovered the cocaine off the Middle Keys city of Marathon. The package was eventually passed to federal agents after Castor called the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office, the newspaper reported.
Cocaine floating off the waters of Florida is not a new occurrence, according to authorities.
The station also reported that in May, a large bundle of cocaine that weighed about 41 pounds was discovered floating near Islamorada.
In May 2021, more than 30 kilograms of cocaine with a value topping $1 million was seized after it washed ashore at Cape Canaveral Space Station, according to the Space Force.
Antonio Planas is a breaking news reporter for NBC News Digital.