Last Thursday, a beachgoer on a routine walk along Ponte Vedra Beach near the Ponte Vedra Inn & Club notified the St. Johns County Sheriff's Office (SJSO) of a 30-pound package of marijuana that had washed ashore. Since then, the U.S. Coast Guard and SJSO deputies have discovered more packages afloat in the ocean.
At this point, the Sheriff's Office doesn't know where the packages originated from or who they belong to.
"One package washed up on the beach and then a couple of days later, more packages were found floating in the ocean," said Chuck Mulligan, community affairs bureau commander for SJSO. "The packages don't have any markings on them."
Mulligan said it's hard to know where the packages entered the water. The package found on the beach could have floated over from South Florida or even from another country, he said.
"It could have been a drop that was made somewhere close by and drifted to us," Mulligan said. "Without knowing that additional information, it's extremely difficult to tell you exactly where it entered the water."
Mulligan also noted that anyone who finds a suspicious package should report it to local law enforcement immediately, so the package can be scheduled for destruction.
"If you find one of these packages, do not take possession of it," he said. "If someone does that and were to get caught, given the amount of drugs that these packages contain, it would be a trafficking offense. So, we've asked people not to pick it up, not to touch it."