FRIPP ISLAND, S.C.—This week, a South Carolina reeled in more than just fish from the ocean—they reeled in a big package containing 44 pounds (20 kilograms) of cocaine.
According to the Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office, the family was walking along Fripp Island when they spotted the trash bag-wrapped package floating in the water. They dragged it onto the beach and lugged it to their rental house in a golf cart. After opening it, they discovered bricks of white powder.
Thankfully, the family didn’t keep the cocaine or attempt to sell it for what could have been million-dollar profits, and instead contacted law enforcement.
Authorities assessed the cocaine’s value at more than $600,000 and are currently working to determine its origin. According to Beaufort County Sheriff’s Maj. Bob Bromage, narcotics don’t frequently wash up in the county—believing Hurricane Dorian to have pushed it ashore.
Under South Carolina law, possession of cocaine is the least severe cocaine offense an individual can be charged with. For a first offense conviction, the individual could face anywhere from no jail time to up to 3 years in jail. The amount of jail depends on many different factors, including, but not limited to the individual’s prior criminal history and the amount of cocaine he or she was convicted of.
Possession of Cocaine
|(1 gram or less)First offense||Misdemeanor||Up to 3 years||Up to $5,000|
|(1 gram or less)Second offense||Felony||Up to 5 years||Up to $7,500|
|(1 gram or less)Third or subsequent offense||Felony||Up to 10 years||Up to $12,500|
Had the couple decided to profit off their finding, they arguably could have been charged with possession with intent to distribute, or PWID.
|First offense||Felony||Up to 15 years||Up to $25,000|
|Second offense||Felony||From 5 to 30 years||Up to $50,000|
|Third or subsequent offense||Felony||From 10 to 30 years||Up to $50,000|
Back in June, $1 million or 30 kilograms of cocaine was also found in South Carolina by two fishermen a few hundred miles south of the North Carolina coast. The fishermen notified the Coast Guard and turned the drugs over to them. That amount of cocaine in the ocean likely means that the drugs belonged to a high traffic drug cartel.
Considering the value of the cocaine here, do you think given the circumstances from Hurricane Dorian, the family should have handed it over or found a way to profit off of it? Let us know your thoughts on this legal puzzle.