$80M cocaine haul washes up on Marshall Islands Atoll

A fisherman on Ailuk Atoll in the Republic of the Marshall Islands discovered a boat that washed ashore last week and had a hidden cargo of 1,430 pounds of cocaine with an estimated street value of more than $80 million.
The Marshall Islands Police Department confirmed 649 one-kilogram blocks of cocaine wrapped in plastic and stamped with the initials KW were discovered inside an unmanned 18-foot boat that washed up on the beaches of Ailuk.

This isn't the first instance of drugs washing up on the shores of various atolls, said Maj. Raney Polkeim of the police substation in Ebeye. 

"We found 40 blocks about a year ago," he said. "This is the biggest one, the one they found at Ailuk." 

Polkeim said the police force has worked with the Guam Police Department for training for drug interdiction and other challenges. He said, like many other areas throughout the Pacific, drugs have become a growing problem in the Republic of the Marshall Islands. 

"It’s a very big concern," he said, referring to the 694 blocks of cocaine recently found. "If we hadn’t found it, it could have affected the people in Ailuk - especially the young people." 


Residents on the atoll attempted to lift the boat out of the water onto the beach but found it to be too heavy. When they investigated, they found a large compartment under the deck had been sealed to hide the drugs, according to Marshall Islands Police Department criminal investigation chief Capt. Vincent Tani.

Two bricks were saved for the DEA and the rest of the drugs were sent to Majuro. The Marshall Islands Police Department posted a photo on its Facebook page on Thursday that the last of the packages for destruction had been incinerated.

Marshall Islands law enforcement believes the boat may have originated in South or Central America.(postguam).

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