Coast Guard Patrolling As Cocaine Keeps Arriving
GALVESTON, Texas (AP) _ The Coast Guard has set up regular patrols of desolate stretches of beach since sealed packages of cocaine have been washing ashore for more than a week.
″If anybody finds any of it, I hope nobody opens the package,″ said Coast Guard Petty Officer James Gutknecht, at the Port O’Connor station. ″This cocaine is pretty potent stuff.″
Gutknecht said officials aren’t sure exactly how many packages have washed up so far from what some believe is cargo from a drug smuggler’s ship that went down in Tropical Storm Allison three weeks ago.
Similar packages have been found in Aransas Pass, Port Aransas, in the Port O’Connor area and on beaches in Matagorda County, said U.S. Customs Agent Cliff Wolfe in Houston.
The largest find was 55 pounds of cocaine, valued at an estimated $2.5 million. The cocaine was wrapped in plastic, tied with rope and marked with the word ″centavo,″ Wolfe said.
″They meant for it to stay dry, and it was still dry, despite the fact it obviously had been in the water for some time,″ he said, noting that barnacles were growing on the packages.
Galveston County Sheriff Joe Max Taylor said these are the first instances of cocaine being washed up on beaches although bales of marijuana have washed up in the past.
A fisherman made the first find June 30, reporting that he discovered 11 pounds washed up on Matagorda Island, said DeeWayne Mathews, a Nueces County constable.