More than 1,600 pounds of high-quality cocaine has washed up on the shores of French beaches in recent weeks, alarming public officials and even shuttering several beaches near Bordeaux, according to the BBC.
The packages seem to be coming to the country’s Atlantic-coast beaches almost daily. The most recent batch — about 31 pounds of drugs — washed up on the Pornic shore Sunday in western France. French police are still investigating the origin of the other beach-bound cocaine bundles, but the prosecutor’s office in Rennes told the Guardian that the $66 million in packages “very probably” contained drugs from South America.
“It is worth very large sums of money,” Rennes prosecutor Philippe Astruc told the BBC.
People in France have been told not to pick up or move any of the drugs, since they could face trafficking penalties or health risks due to the purity of the cocaine. The cocaine could’ve been dumped off a ship trying to release its cargo, or lost during a storm, according to the Guardian.
Plastic-wrapped bricks of cocaine wind up on beaches somewhat infrequently, but media reports have shown several impromptu cocaine deliveries along Atlantic Ocean beaches in recent months. In September, Hurricane Dorian’s powerful waves carried more than a dozen bricks of cocaine to Florida’s beaches. (The Guardian reported that French authorities are in touch with Florida authorities over their similar cocaine oddities.)
Tourists in South Carolina discovered about 40 pounds of wrapped cocaine floating in the Atlantic Ocean last month and, not knowing what it was, hauled it away from the beach in their golf cart. Once they discovered it was a white, powdery substance, the tourists turned it over to local police, who also thought it might’ve been carried there by Hurricane Dorian.
Separately, nearly $2 million worth of cocaine washed up on a beach near Auckland, New Zealand in August.