Monday, September 13, 2021

Cocaine, rubber land on Florida beaches

A beachgoer in Boca Raton last month discovered a 70-pound package of cocaine that washed ashore. Wayward bales of drugs show up with regularity on Florida’s Atlantic coast. 24 wrapped bricks of cocaine washed up on a beach at Cape Canaveral in June. In the Florida Keys, 23 bricks of cocaine washed ashore in May, and more cocaine washed up last month in Key West. Beachgoers have been spotting blocks of rubber that have washed ashore. They each weigh hundreds of pounds and are composed of sheets of rubber that have been folded on themselves. Three of the mysterious bales materialized on Palm Beach last summer.
A study linked the rubber bales to the cargo of the SS Rio Grande, a German blockade-running ship that was sunk by the U.S. Navy in January of 1944 in the waters off the coast of Brazil. The World War II-vintage rubber cargo remained submerged for more than 70 years, but now may be breaking free due to corrosion of the shipwreck or unauthorized salvaging of the ship’s cargo, which also included tin, copper and cobalt. The bales began washing up on Brazil’s shores a few years ago.