Amidst all the sargassum that has washed up on Cozumel’s beaches in recent months, specifically on San Martin beach, authorities found 13 bricks of cocaine that had washed up onto the shore. Military and local police were performing a routine surveillance tour on the beaches when the drugs were spotted in the sand among the sargassum. They immediately secured the packages and then transferred them to the Ministry of Public Security headquarters.
The packages of cocaine were hiding under the sargassum so it was a lucky break for authorities to find them before someone else did. Sargassum is a type of brown seaweed that has been washing up on the shores of the Mexican Caribbean for years. This year, though, it has been particularly bad, which is likely why the drugs went unnoticed by beachgoers visiting San Martin beach.
The beach, which is located on the eastern side of the island about 30 minutes from downtown Cozumel, is one of the more secluded in the area. It is known for its beautiful white sand beaches and spectacular views of the Caribbean Sea. Because it is not recommended for swimming there are fewer people on the beach, which likely was another factor that played a role in the cocaine not being found by a civilian.
After the authorities transferred the packages to the Ministry of Public Security the Attorney General’s Office stepped in and took over. They performed a chemical test on the cocaine, which tested positive, verifying that it was in fact cocaine. Unfortunately, there is no way to tell where the drug packages came from, so nobody is being held accountable for the dangerous situation that could have occurred had someone else found them.
This isn’t the first time that drugs have washed ashore in Cozumel and probably won’t be the last. In September of 2021, a large package holding 80 kilos of cocaine was found on a Cozumel beach during a routine patrolling as well. This was after Hurricane Grace passed through, which also caused drugs to wash up on Tulum beaches as well at the time.
Furthermore, it was only a couple of months ago that a brick of cocaine washed ashore in Tulum again. The package was found on the beach of the Hashita Pandano hotel. Authorities immediately secured the package and searched the surrounding area to ensure no more packages had washed up. Following the finding, the General Directorate of Public Safety and Traffic in Tulum put more police officers on the beaches to monitor them.
While drug trafficking problems still exist in the Mexican Caribbean it is a problem that rarely comes so close to affecting tourists. Thankfully the government is being proactive in cities like Cozumel and Tulum by keeping the beaches monitored. This will help keep these packages from being found by tourists and causing a dangerous situation.
Tourists are urged to not seek out drugs when visiting these areas. In Cancun, authorities have actually formed a campaign to help solve the drug problem, asking tourists to “be part of the solution.” Hopefully, this will help to eventually eradicate this stain on the breathtaking paradise that is the Mexican Caribbean in the future.
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