Tampa mayor reeled in cocaine catch during Keys fishing trip

Tampa mayor reeled in cocaine catch during Keys fishing trip


While on a fishing trip in the Florida Keys with her family earlier this summer, Tampa Mayor Jane Castor reeled in an unexpected catch: 70 pounds of cocaine, estimated to be worth more than $1 million.

Castor, who previously served as Tampa’s police chief, said the drug bale appeared to have been floating in the water for a while already when she found it, CBS affiliate WTSP reported.

“You know my family was concerned, like, ‘Oh my gosh, what if they think it’s ours,'” Castor joked in an interview with the news station. “I’m like, come on. So, we pulled it up and then as soon as we were in cellphone range just to call and notify them.”

The mayor reported her family’s discovery to the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office, CBS Miami reported, and the drugs were ultimately seized by federal agents. Chief Patrol Agent Walter Slosar, of the U.S. Border Patrol’s Miami Sector, confirmed in a tweet at the end of July that the agency had seized 70 pounds of cocaine originally “discovered by a recreational boater” in the Florida Keys.

“The drugs have an estimated street value of approx. $1.1 million dollars,” Slosar wrote in the tweet. Castor reposted it to her own social media page on Tuesday, adding the grinning squinting face emoji.

Castor told CBS Miami it was her brother who first spotted the bale while fishing.

“My younger brother saw some debris in the water, and so we went over there because, quite often, if you fish, the smaller fish will go under any kind of shade they can get. That attracts the larger fish, like triple tail,” the mayor said, according to the station. “We thought it was shade as opposed to something shady. But, you know, the closer we got and once I saw the rip in it and see the tightly wrapped packages, I was like definitely that’s a bale of cocaine.”

It was not the first time cocaine bales with high street values had washed ashore in Florida. This past April, packages of cocaine worth more than $100,000 were discovered on three different beaches in Walton County, between Destin and Panama City Beach along the Florida panhandle, authorities said at the time. Each of those packages bore a different design, with one appearing to mimic the Chanel brand logo, according to the Walton County Sheriff’s Office.