Florida: Abandoned Boat Loaded With Marijuana Drifts Ashore

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Photo: Eric Hasert/TCPalm
Ingrid Peters helps recover debris from the 33-foot boat that came ashore carrying 1,100 pounds of marijuana on Tuesday morning. “You never know what’s going to wash ashore,” Peters said.

​An abandoned boat carrying about 1,100 pounds of marijuana drifted ashore this week on a Treasure Coast island in Florida.

A Hutchinson Island resident called the U.S. Coast Guard Tuesday morning, thinking the drifting 33-foot boat might be experiencing some sort of trouble, reports Will Greenlee at TCPalm. But as the vessel came close to shore, she said a man with no shirt or shoes jumped out and ran away.
St. Lucie County deputies and federal agents searched the boat, which came ashore about 6:40 a.m., and found about 1,100 pounds of neatly packaged marijuana they claimed was worth an estimated $1 million.

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Photo: ActionNewsJax.com
Here’s the 1,100 pounds of pot found aboard the abandoned vessel.

​Police were stopping people as they left the island Tuesday, but U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) employees said no arrests had been made, with the investigation continuing.
“There was every cop, every DEA, every CIA, you name it, they were there,” said Ronda Robbins, the resident who originally spotted the boat from her 15th-floor condo and called the Coast Guard.
Robbins said she walked down to the beach after law enforcement arrived and saw cops offloading what she described as burlap sacks onto an all-terrain vehicle. The ATV ferried the big bags of pot to a pickup.

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Photo: Ronda Robbins
Officers unload one of the bales of marijuana found on the abandoned boat Tuesday.

​”I’ve never seen anything like that,” Robbins said. “It was amazing.”
One man was detained after being found walking nearby. A sheriff’s department spokesperson said they thought the man, whose name was not released, might have been aboard the boat.
The man told police he was from Miami, but he had no identification. He was apparently unable to explain his presence in the area.
But a few hours later, ICE spokesperson Nicole Navas said nobody was in custody.
Navas said ICE was the lead agency in the investigation, and that more than half a ton of pot was in ICE custody.
“In order to preserve the integrity of this investigation, we are not at liberty to provide more details,” Navas said.


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