HomeNewsBrief'Square Groupers' (Marijuana) Still Washing Ashore in South Florida
BRIEF

'Square Groupers' (Marijuana) Still Washing Ashore in South Florida

2 OCT 2012 BY GEOFFREY RAMSEY EN

While the heyday of Miami’s “cocaine cowboys” has passed, packages of drugs continue to wash ashore in South Florida, a testament to the continued importance of Caribbean trafficking routes a time-honored modus operandi.

On September 29, police found 400 pounds of marijuana in several burlap sacks on the beach in Jupiter, Florida. Officials say the marijuana packages, which were presumably part of a discarded drug shipment, could have been sold for more than $1 million.

According to the Florida Sun Sentinel, this is not the first such discovery this year. Law enforcement officers have reportedly found more than 885 pounds of marijuana in the region since April.

InSight Crime Analysis

The find is reminiscent of a bygone era of drug trafficking, when so-called “white lobsters” (cocaine packages) and “square groupers” (marijuana) washed up on the beaches of southern Florida on a regular basis in the 1980s. These packages are abandoned when traffickers sense they are being pursued by authorities, or, in some cases, they are dropped into the sea via aircraft, and are meant to be picked up later by boat.

When US anti-drug officials began to crack down on cocaine smuggling in the 1980s, washed up drug packages became less common. This coincided with increased use of the overland smuggling routes through Central America and Mexico, and the rise of powerful Mexican drug cartels like the Sinaloa Cartel.

In recent years, however, evidence has emerged to suggest that the Caribbean route is returning to its heyday. According to the US military’s Southern Command, drug flights through the region have spiked in response to increasing pressure in Central America. 

As evidence of this, Dominican authorities captured several members of a multinational drug trafficking ring this week, which included military officials, that was operating from a small city outside of the country's capital, Santo Domingo, where they receiving regular air cargoes of a dubious nature.

share icon icon icon

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

What are your thoughts? Click here to send InSight Crime your comments.

We encourage readers to copy and distribute our work for non-commercial purposes, with attribution to InSight Crime in the byline and links to the original at both the top and bottom of the article. Check the Creative Commons website for more details of how to share our work, and please send us an email if you use an article.

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Tackles Illegal Fishing

15 OCT 2021

In October, InSight Crime and American University’s Center for Latin American and Latino Studies (CLALS) began a year-long project on illegal, unreported, unregulated (IUU) fishing in…

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Featured in Handbook for Reporting on Organized Crime

8 OCT 2021

In late September, the Global Investigative Journalism Network (GIJN) published an excerpt of its forthcoming guide on reporting organized crime in Indonesia.

THE ORGANIZATION

Probing Organized Crime in Haiti

1 OCT 2021

InSight Crime has made it a priority to investigate organized crime in Haiti, where an impotent state is reeling after the July assassination of President Jovenel Moïse, coupled with an…

THE ORGANIZATION

Emergency First Aid in Hostile Environments

24 SEP 2021

At InSight Crime's annual treat, we ramped up hostile environment and emergency first aid training for our 40-member staff, many of whom conduct on-the-ground investigations in dangerous corners of the region.

THE ORGANIZATION

Series on Environmental Crime in the Amazon Generates Headlines

17 SEP 2021

InSight Crime and the Igarapé Institute have been delighted at the response to our joint investigation into environmental crimes in the Colombian Amazon. Coverage of our chapters dedicated to illegal mining…