Sun Sentinel– When Doug Phinney walked into a bar on A1A about 1 a.m. Tuesday with an open kilo of suspected cocaine in his hands, he wasn’t looking to make a sale or even worried about being arrested.
In fact, he was looking for a cop.
“I finally flagged down an officer driving by,” said Phinney, 52, from Wilton Manors. “And I showed him what I found.”
Phinney made his discovery on the sands of Fort Lauderdale beach during a routine nighttime patrol as a volunteer with the Sea Turtle Oversight Program, designed to protect the behemoth sea creatures during the summer nesting season. During his four-hour patrol he did spot 11 loggerhead turtles who swam ashore to lay eggs.But it was the drugs that made the night memorable.
“I was doing what I always do,” said Phinney, on summer break from teaching legal studies at the online Florida Virtual School. “It was raining, the surf was crashing, there was a ton of seaweed on the beach, and then I saw this package the size of a brick. As soon as I picked it up I knew what it was.”
Phinney said he used a knife to slice open the package and found a white sticky substance that a Fort Lauderdale police dog seemed to recognize as cocaine.
When police received a call about found narcotics, Officer Giovanni Morales responded, according to records.
Three officers were soon on the scene, and all seemed rather blasé about the find, Phinney said.
But the patrons of a nearby bar just north of Las Olas Boulevard were excited, Phinney said. “They said, ‘You found that right out there? Man, you should have given it to me,'” said Phinney.
Police made a report, and took possession of the suspected cocaine, Phinney said.
Richard WhiteCloud, founding director of the Sea Turtle Oversight Program, said a monitor found a bale of suspected marijuana while on patrol about two weeks ago. But coming upon contraband is rare, he said.
Phinney said when he cut the package open and got some of the product on his fingers he was tempted to rub a bit on his gums, as he’s seen done in the movies. But he refrained.
“You did the right thing,” Phinney said the police told him.
My first thought was “these damn kids and drug mules these days.” Absolutely no respect for public property and nature. As well known and popular as Ft Laudy beach is, you will occasionally find scraps of junk washed up on shore. I remember our 6th grade end of the year beach field trip ended with a buddy getting sea lice on his balls, but also with me finding scraps of a junked car that floated ashore. And then I think I also left like 30 soda cans on the floor because for some reason i decided to crack them open and pour them down my face like Stone Cold Steve Austin. Kids just have no respect for nature just leaving their trash and distribution amount of drugs everywhere
But then now thinking about it and growing up to see how absurd the world can be, It would be kinda fun, and maybe possible, to have a scenario where drug lords are intercepting wild sea turtles on mating season and strapping bricks of cocaine on them and having them bury it while they lay their sea turtle eggs. You laugh at that idea now but I think the term “Drug Mule” has at least a little something to do with actual real life actual mule animals. Think about it now, operation takes place at night, sea turtles bury things in sand, you can’t arrest sea turtles. Not saying its a well established drug trafficking plan. Maybe this was a test embargo. Yea it didn’t go quite accordingly with this one drop but if all things played out perfectly, sea turtles can probably move a couple hundred kilos by the end of mating season. Its the perfect crime.