CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. -- More than $1 million worth of cocaine washed ashore on a beach belonging to the Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida.
Last month, a wildlife manager from the Patrick Space Force Base nearby noticed a package in the water while she was conducting a sea turtle nesting survey.
"While I was waiting for them to arrive, I drove a little further and noticed another package, and then another,” Angy Chambers, 45th Civil Engineer Squadron wildlife manager, said in a release from Patrick Space Force Base.
Chambers said she counted at least 18 packages, all of them wrapped tightly in plastic.
Brevard County Sheriff’s Office deputies performed a field test on the contents of the packages and determined it was cocaine.
Deputies recovered 24 packages from the beach and transferred them to the Department of Homeland Security.
Agents estimate they recovered about 30 kilograms of cocaine, with an estimated value of about $1.2 million.
Investigators with Homeland Security say drug traffickers will oftentimes transport bulk shipments of drugs in so-called “bales” of about 25 “bricks” of drugs. Sometimes the wrapping holding the bricks together breaks while in transit and the drugs are lost at sea.
"We take pride in protecting our base and the surrounding community," said Joseph Parker, 45th SFS flight sergeant. "There is also a higher level of job satisfaction knowing that these drugs will not make it into our community."
Where the cocaine came from is still under investigation.
Patrick Space Force Base and Cape Canaveral Space Force Base were formally re-designated in late 2020 as facilities central to the mission of the U.S. Space Force. The bases were previously air force bases. Military members stationed at the space force bases are referred to as "defenders."