A mystery in southwest France has investigators puzzled and multiple beaches shuttered as they try to figure out what’s going on. The AFP reports that since the middle of last month, almost 1 ton of “extremely pure” cocaine (83%, officials say) and other drugs have washed up from the Atlantic onto beaches hundreds of miles apart, forcing cops to patrol the sands to keep away both innocent beach goers and those who’ve heard about the deluge of drugs and are hoping to capitalize. This week, for example, a teen came from hours away and was busted at the Lacanau surfing beach after picking up 11 pounds of cocaine. It’s the potency of the coke that’s especially worrying local authorities.
“It’s a very pure product that must not be consumed in this form because there is a very high risk of overdose,” Rennes prosecutor Philippe Astruc told France 2 TV, via the Guardian. “There is absolutely an immediate health risk.” Another item of note: A local paper reports that some of the packages washed ashore bore the imprints “diamante” or “brillante,” similar to wording found on bundles that washed up in Florida after Hurricane Dorian in September. As for theories? Astruc says there are a few, but investigators are thinking at the moment the drugs somehow fell off a vessel from South America due to stormy weather or a mechanical problem, Fox News reports. Other European agencies and the US Drug Enforcement Agency are working with French officials to find out the drugs’ source.