Hundreds of Kilos of Cocaine Found in Gym Bags on South England Shoreline

Authorities in the U.K. launched an investigation after a fisherman discovered gym bags filled with hundreds of kilograms of cocaine floating off the shore in the south of England. More bags were later found washed up on a beach on the Isle of Wight.

Isle of wight drug packages NCAThe amount of cocaine confiscated by police in the U.K. saw a substantial rise of 68 percent. (Photo: National Crime Agency, License)"We believe this is a significant amount of class A drugs that would have originated in South America. The loss of a consignment of this size would represent a significant blow to the criminal networks involved," stated senior investigating officer Tracey Lake in an NCA statement.

Additional bags were discovered by litter pickers, and the police asked residents not to touch the bags if they find more but to call the authorities.

Floating packages containing drugs are often left by passing cargo ships to be retrieved and brought ashore by traffickers.

Packages of cocaine worth "nearly US$113 million" washed ashore on the coast of East Sussex, England, in 2021.

According to the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA), cocaine traffickers employ a wide range of adaptable trafficking techniques that change over time in response to law enforcement efforts.

Maritime transportation is a favored method due to its capacity to move large quantities of cocaine in a single operation. Notably, during the years 2011-2013, over two-thirds of seizures in the European Union (EU) involved cocaine transported by sea.