The Great Cocaine Treasure Hunt
May 20, 2015 4:23 AM   Subscribe

He'd heard about this sort of thing down here, even on Culebra—drugs that had been tossed overboard or dropped from a plane, missing their target and washing ashore. It was almost funny. He'd been walking around the island for nine years now, looking for something to smoke, thinking, Okay, God, where's my bale? And here it was, perhaps: forty, fifty, sixty pounds. Think of how long it would last him! Still, it was wrapped so thoroughly in plastic and rubber, he couldn't tell for sure what he was dealing with. Weed, he hoped. But it could be coke, or something else. He wasn't certain it was worth the risk. In an effort to buy more time, he dragged the package up the beach, dug a depression near the rocks, and covered it with leaves and debris.
posted by ellieBOA (21 comments total) 16 users marked this as a favorite
 
Great story! But, I can't believe it's not entrapment. Especially since they had to convince Rodney to keep going after his trip to PR where he didn't find the cocaine. What a bunch of jackasses.
posted by bluefly at 5:07 AM on May 20, 2015 [3 favorites]


Have not finished reading yet but love the art!
posted by maggieb at 5:10 AM on May 20, 2015 [1 favorite]


Ooh I will read this soon, the father of my best friend in high school had a very similar story!

But his story was with a bale of cocaine, and he and his buddy and their two wives found it on the very first day of their holiday. I can't remember all the details but basically instead of a glorious beach resort vacation they holed up in one of the rooms, drew the blinds, and tried to snort it all over the course of the week. Then they took an extra week of holiday. They made plans to bury the rest and come back again next year, but the buddy freaked out and thought that he wouldn't get his share... they decided it would not be possible to bring it back to Canada with them, but they spent a LOT of time brainstorming how they could do that.
posted by Meatbomb at 5:23 AM on May 20, 2015 [2 favorites]


Those bales can float a long way, so if even if you're enjoying a beach holiday a long way from Florida... keep 'em peeled!
posted by Devonian at 5:35 AM on May 20, 2015


Grumpy Cat-- It's made up. The only thing you're likely to find washed up on a beach in Culebra is a soiled pair of Juan from Bayamón's underwear and seven tropical drink umbrellas.
posted by rankfreudlite at 5:42 AM on May 20, 2015


The only thing you're likely to find washed up on a beach in Culebra is a soiled pair of Juan from Bayamón's underwear and seven tropical drink umbrellas.

Depends on the beach. I found an intact but dangerously corroded 30mm cannon round rolling in the surf. That was startling.
posted by aramaic at 6:03 AM on May 20, 2015 [3 favorites]


White Lobster. (see previous)
posted by adamvasco at 6:03 AM on May 20, 2015 [1 favorite]


Depends on the beach. I found an intact but dangerously corroded 30mm cannon round rolling in the surf. That was startling.

Damn you, Vieques! Quit exporting your trash to Culebra! (Referring to Juan, not the ammunition) Where can I find some peace and quiet? Do I have to travel all the way to Pitcairn? (as long as the natives don't go all molesty on me)
posted by rankfreudlite at 6:31 AM on May 20, 2015 [1 favorite]


This is the grand-scale Federal version of the local police thing where they set up complicated surveillance operations at the parking lots of fireworks sellers near state borders looking for out of state plates and then bust buyers when they cross back into their home state where said fireworks are illegal. Because would you rather walk up on some meth gangster who's probably carrying and possibly tweaked out enough to start shooting, or a middle aged orthodontist named Josh with his two kids in the car and some firecrackers in the trunk? I know what I'd pick if I was a cop.

Similarly, real drug kingpins are hard to find and freaking dangerous. Those narco syndicate guys will burn your kids in front of you and then chainsaw your limbs off! But you need to show a steady stream of busts of major drug figures to justify your budget. Best to just find some desperate schmuck you can turn into a drug dealer.

(See also every FBI terrorism case in the last 10 years.)
posted by Naberius at 6:43 AM on May 20, 2015 [16 favorites]


Damn you, Vieques! Quit exporting your trash to Culebra! (Referring to Juan, not the ammunition) Where can I find some peace and quiet? Do I have to travel all the way to Pitcairn? (as long as the natives don't go all molesty on me)

This reminds me. I have an idea for a start-up: We will make a series of travel videos in which every trip absolutely sucks. All I need is someone to finance it and do all the work, while I receive all of the credit for an idea I conceived between scratching my belly and farting vociferously. Perhaps we can convince Steve Buscemi to star in it. The theme music will be audio of me farting. Coming soon to a TED talks near you.
posted by rankfreudlite at 6:45 AM on May 20, 2015 [1 favorite]


See also every FBI terrorism case in the last 10 years.

My thought too. At least the judge in this case was able to recognize what a shitty thing the feds had done here and impose a relatively lenient sentence.
posted by Flashman at 7:05 AM on May 20, 2015 [2 favorites]


You know, that's another thing that struck me. Apparently the mandatory sentences just... aren't? What's that about?
posted by Naberius at 7:27 AM on May 20, 2015 [1 favorite]


Obligatory: Reverend Horton Heat - Bales of Cocaine
posted by elsietheeel at 8:38 AM on May 20, 2015 [7 favorites]


For what it's worth, Culebra has its own history as a bombing range, so if you find any unexploded ordinance there it's not necessarily something that came from Vieques.

I do think it's more plausible that you could find something like this on Vieques, though, with its miles of back roads, blocked off beaches, and general air of obscurity.
posted by feloniousmonk at 9:07 AM on May 20, 2015


He did some quick math: Thirty-two kilos. Street value at the time: anywhere from $16,000 to $20,000 per kilo, depending on which street.
Hell, I'm a millionaire, he thought

His quick math wasn't very good.
posted by w0mbat at 9:48 AM on May 20, 2015 [3 favorites]


His quick math wasn't very good.

Not only was it not VERY good, it wasn't even SLIGHTLY good. In fact, an argument can be made that it wasn't even math.
posted by rankfreudlite at 10:07 AM on May 20, 2015 [1 favorite]


....an intersection of footpaths in the desert, a hundred miles from Tucson and two hundred miles from anywhere else. Most of the traffic in this area was wild pigs and jackrabbits, or maybe the infrequent dirt biker out on a jackrabbit run. The stash was in plain view at the precise intersection of the trails, two large black garbage bags filled with Mexican dirt weed divided into pound-baggies, perhaps twenty pound-baggies in each garbage bag. Nowadays I doubt anybody would struggle to bring that sort of shit-weed in from Mexico, but in those days it was quite a haul. Also, the paranoia quotient was much lower in those (pre-cartel) days. The biker couldn't carry both those bags, but he was able to bungie-cord one of them to the rear of his seat. He had plans to go back and get the other one, but he never did.

The legend continues.
posted by mule98J at 12:13 PM on May 20, 2015


"I would not take this thing, if it lay by the highway."
posted by Countess Elena at 12:56 PM on May 20, 2015 [1 favorite]


It's not a bad story; it's got some nice turns of phrases, such as describing the guy's attorney as "a Jacksonville attorney who looks a little like Joe Lieberman minus the parts that remind people of the emperor from Star Wars", or the map annotation regarding the huge amount of coke that washed up in Ireland: "MIND-FUCK: Imagining what happened to the guy who lost it." And the epilogue in particular frames the thing as maybe one of Carl Hiaasen's lesser books about the essentially harmless loser and his eccentric friend and how the loser gets mixed up with stuff way out of his pay grade. But I feel like I've read enough of these true-crime sting operation longforms that, even though I've already seen the dude's mugshot, I'm shaking my head as there are the last-minute changes in the time and place for the meet that I've read about so many times before, and I'm thinking, dude, if only you'd read one or two of these things, this is exactly when you should be breaking your burner phone in half--you did get a burner for this thing, right? Right? Oh, dude--and using your real phone to call Palpatine, LLC because they're going to try to go after you with what they've got. As it is, he's been stuck with five thousand hours of community service.
posted by Halloween Jack at 7:51 PM on May 20, 2015


This reminds me. I have an idea for a start-up: We will make a series of travel videos in which every trip absolutely sucks. All I need is someone to finance it and do all the work, while I receive all of the credit for an idea I conceived between scratching my belly and farting vociferously. Perhaps we can convince Steve Buscemi to star in it. The theme music will be audio of me farting. Coming soon to a TED talks near you.

Episode 1: Steve, while perusing a 1942 edition of "Collier's Gazeteer" decides to visit Spain. Upon arrival at Barajas, Spain's busiest airport, Steve hails a taxi and is taken to a small fishing village near Cantabria where he has his wallet stolen and is pummeled by spoiled grapefruit.
posted by rankfreudlite at 10:06 PM on May 20, 2015


Episode 1: Steve, while perusing a 1942 edition of "Collier's Gazeteer"

FISHING ..... wiiiiith ...... Johnnnnnn.

Seriously, let's do this thing. Sorta like Idiot Abroad, except it's all about Steve Buscemi trying to retain some semblance of crumpled dignity.
posted by aramaic at 6:44 AM on May 21, 2015


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