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

Guatemala Social Insecurity Investigation Makes Front Page News

10 DEC 2021

InSight Crime’s latest investigation into a case of corruption within Guatemala's social security agency linked to the deaths of patients with kidney disease made waves in…

THE ORGANIZATION

Venezuela El Dorado Investigation Makes Headlines

3 DEC 2021

InSight Crime's investigation into the trafficking of illegal gold in Venezuela's Amazon region generated impact on both social media and in the press. Besides being republished and mentioned by several…

THE ORGANIZATION

Gender and Investigative Techniques Focus of Workshops

26 NOV 2021

On November 23-24, InSight Crime conducted a workshop called “How to Cover Organized Crime: Investigation Techniques and A Focus on Gender.” The session convened reporters and investigators from a dozen…

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Names Two New Board Members

19 NOV 2021

In recent weeks, InSight Crime added two new members to its board. Joy Olson is the former executive director of the Washington Office on Latin America…

THE ORGANIZATION

Senate Commission in Paraguay Cites InSight Crime

12 NOV 2021

InSight Crime’s reporting and investigations often reach the desks of diplomats, security officials and politicians. The latest example occurred in late October during a commission of Paraguay's Senate that tackled…