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'Ghost Boat' Packed With Cocaine Found on Pacific Atoll

Authorities in the Marshall Islands say it could have drifted for years
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 17, 2020 3:18 AM CST

(Newser) – It was the biggest drug find ever made in the Marshall Islands—or at least the biggest one ever reported to authorities. Richard Hickson, the Pacific island nation's attorney general, says an 18-foot fiberglass boat was found last week with 1,430 pounds of cocaine stashed in a hidden compartment. Residents of remote Ailuk Atoll discovered the hidden drugs when they tried to move the boat and found it was surprisingly heavy, the BBC reports. Hickson says the boat probably drifted to the Marshall Islands from Central America or South America. "It could have been drifting for a year or two," he says.

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The 649 wrapped blocks of cocaine, which were marked with the initials "KW," were incinerated this week, apart from two that will be turned over to the US Drug Enforcement Administration for analysis, authorities say. "Let's hope this is the last cocaine we burn," the Marshall Islands Police Department said in a Facebook post. But although this is the biggest cocaine find on record in the island group, currents often bring debris from the west coast of the Americas to the Marshall Islands and drug finds are relatively common, which authorities say has led to a growing drug abuse problem. (A boat believed to have drifted for thousands of miles after the 2011 tsunami ended up back in Japan this week.)

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