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Tampa Mayor Hauls in Large Package of Cocaine While Fishing in Florida Keys

The Realblog with Stephanie Mallory

Tampa Mayor Hauls in Large Package of Cocaine While Fishing in Florida Keys

Posted 2023-08-25  by  Stephanie Mallory

The 70-pound package of the illegal substance is valued at approximately $1.1 million

While fishing in the Florida Keys with family late last month, Tampa Mayor Jane Castor hauled in a surprising catch. She and her family had discovered a package containing 70 pounds of cocaine with an estimated street value of approximately $1.1 million floating in the ocean, according to the mayor’s office.

The US Border Patrol says the package was discovered south of Marathon on July 23.

“My family, we've been going down there for years. It's actually one of my son's birthdays. And so we go down yearly,” she told ABC Action News. “But this year we caught a ‘square grouper.’”

Castor says her younger brother spotted something bulky in the water as they were coming in from a successful fishing trip for Mahi-Mahi.

"We went over there because quite often, if you fish, the smaller fish will go under any kind of shade that they can get and then that attracts a larger fish like tripletail. So we went over there to see if we could fish around it. The closer we got, I was like 'Oh, that would be a bale of cocaine.' So we got the gaff and pulled it in and pulled it up on the boat," she recalled.

According to the city of Tampa website, prior to her role as mayor, Castor “spent 31 years with the Tampa Police Department, serving in nearly every capacity and in nearly every neighborhood of the city. In October of 2009, Castor became Tampa’s first female Chief of Police, serving for six years in that role." She also worked as a narcotics detective for years.

"It had been in the water for a while because the plastic had split open. And I could see down in the tightly wrap kilos…. So as we went back to shore, my family was a little worried. Like, 'What if there's a tracker or something like that?' I thought, well, the battery's dead if that happened," she said.

Castor logged the latitude and longitude of the find and explained she knew bringing it in would be better than leaving it behind.

"It is interesting, because so many people have been like, 'I wouldn't touch that, you know. I would have just called'. But then if you would, you know, if I had tried to notify where we were at, by our GPS, it probably would have floated someplace else," she added.

Once back in cell range, Castor called the Monroe County Sheriff's Office and told them to meet them at their rental to pick up the illegal drugs.

"I called Monroe County Sheriff's Office and they sent a local police officer. So he came in. And then he goes, 'Well, I'm gonna have to call somebody else. So he went out, notified Customs, they came up," she said.

The packaging contained 25 bricks of cocaine, according to Border Patrol.

“We appreciate the ongoing support from our boating community. Thanks to the efforts of this Good Samaritan, 70 pounds of cocaine are in federal custody and off our streets. We encourage the community to immediately report suspicious activity to local authorities,” Assistant Chief Patrol Agent Adam Hoffner said.

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