If you thought bales of ganja mysteriously floating onto Miami shores was just a tale from years gone by, guess again.
Finds of so-called 'square grouper' are happening all along Florida's southeast coast again -- and authorities say that the recurrent appearances of packaged pot are on course to set a record.
"This is the highest amount of seizures we've had since 1997," Chief Petty Officer Ryan Doss of the U.S. Coast Guard told the Sun Sentinel.
In September alone, marijuana washed up onto sandy SoFla beaches in several reported incidents:
- Last Saturday in Jupiter, 400 pounds of weed was found in 75 packages strewn along the sand.
- Just days before, a combined 48 pounds was found on two separate occasions near Vero Beach.
- The week prior in Flagler, a capsized boat floated ashore with 150 pounds of weed.
- On September 14, 15 pounds of waterlogged green was found in Lauderdale-by-the-Sea.
Doss told the Sun Sentinel 78,000 pounds of marijuana have been intercepted nationwide through July, though "most of the drug seizures do come from our area." That number is on track to beat the 1997 record high of 102,000 pounds once figures for August and September are factored into the final tally for the 2012 fiscal year.
Coast Guard officials are crediting the rise in contraband confiscations to better boats and equipment. But, with North Americans' insatiable appetite for weed, technology will have to keep a steady pace to combat smugglers determined to work around prohibition.
Why is it called "square grouper," and why is it conjuring memories of the height of vice in the Magic City? Check out this clip from Rakontur's 2011 pot doc: