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article imageFishermen 'catch' $2.5 million worth of cocaine off Florida coast

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By Leigh Goessl     Jun 18, 2013 in World
Destin - A group of fishermen working a couple of miles off of a Florida coastline recently snagged a large amount of cocaine. Officials estimate the catch is worth about $2.5 million.
Five fishermen were recently on a commercial expedition about two to three miles off the coast of Destin, Fl., in the Destin East Pass, which is located in the Gulf coast off Florida's panhandle. According to Okaloosa County Sheriff's Office, the fishermen saw a large package floating in the water and had retrieved it.
Upon pulling the package out into their boat, the fishermen realized it was several individually brick-shaped wrapped packages. They immediately called local authorities.
"State and federal law enforcement officers responded to the scene," said an Okaloosa County Sheriff's Office statement dated June 12 [PDF]. "The fishermen provided statements and turned the bale over to authorities. The Drug Task Force collected and processed the bale and determined that it contained 25 kilograms [55 pounds] of cocaine."
It is believed the drugs may have originated in Venezuela. Okaloosa County Sheriff Larry Ashley told Fox News the investigators believe this because of the language stamped on the drugs' packaging material.
Investigators also noted a "00" on one of the bricks. It is believed this indicates a drug cartel.
"This is definitely not a source city for that quantity of narcotics,” he said. Ashley also noted it was "not uncommon for drugs to wash ashore".
The $2.5 million figure is estimated based on the drug's street value of $100 per gram, said the Sheriff's Office.
The investigation is ongoing.
According to the News Herald, this is not a first, nor the largest find of illegal drugs. In 2004, Navarre Beach State Park employees found an 80-pound bale. That stash was worth about $3.6 million.
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