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Cocaine washes ashore near mystery shipwreck that caused massive oil spill in Trinidad and Tobago

Tampa mayor discovers cocaine on fishing trip
Tampa mayor discovers $1.1 million worth of cocaine on fishing trip 00:32

A black plastic bag containing more than a kilogram of cocaine has washed up on a beach near the spot where a mysterious barge capsized and spilled oil off the island nation of Trinidad and Tobago, authorities said Monday.

The cocaine, valued at $75,000, was found "washed ashore" at Cove Estate on Tobago, police said in a statement.

Authorities have not linked the drug find to the capsized vessel, which is lodged on a reef about 500 feet from Cove Estate.

Intrigue surrounds the vessel which capsized on February 7 in waters off the Caribbean island, having made no emergency calls and with no sign of any crew.

 A massive oil spill from an overturned vessel off the coast of Trinidad and Tobago is "not under control," Prime Minister Keith Rowley said. Tobago Emergency Management Agency

As a trail of oil leaked into the ocean at the height of the tourist season, authorities last week determined at least two vessels -- the barge and a tugboat -- had been involved in the accident.

The national security ministry said the barge had been tugged from Panama, and appears to have been bound for Guyana.

The oil spill has affected about 10 miles of Tobago's coastline, and the cleanup is still underway. Last week, Prime Minister Keith Rowley declared a national emergency as crews raced to contain the spill.

The island's Emergency Management Agency has posted dozens of images and videos on social media showing the 330-foot-long ship and crews scrambling to clean up the oil spill. Divers spotted the name "Gulfstream" on the craft's side but still no little about the vessel or where it came from.

On Sunday, the agency hailed all the volunteer groups contributing to the cleanup.

"Their hard work is nothing short of inspiring as they tirelessly contribute to the recovery mission," the agency wrote on Facebook.

View of the oil spill at Rockly Bay in Tobago island, Trinidad and Tobago, on February 10, 2024.  CLEMENT WILLIAMS/AFP via Getty Images

It's not uncommon for drugs to be found in the waters and beaches of the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico.  In January, nearly $1 million of cocaine washed ashore on a beach in Cameron County, Texas and last summer, Tampa Mayor Jane Castor reeled in 70 pounds of cocaine while on a fishing trip in the Florida Keys.

In April 2023, packages of cocaine worth more than $100,000 were found on three different Walton County, Florida beaches, and about three months before that, nearly 150 pounds of packaged cocaine washed up on Big Pine Key, Florida.

In 2019, bricks of cocaine were discovered on two beaches after Hurricane Dorian lashed the Florida coast.

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