Beaches closed in France after nearly 900kg of cocaine washes ashore

Cocaine powder in plastic bag with a packages

French police have closed beaches after bricks of cocaine began washing up daily on the coast.

Last week, French police were forced to close beaches on the Atlantic coast of south west France after packages of cocaine and other drugs began washing ashore, according to news agency Agence France-Presse (AFP).

So far, nearly 900 kilograms of cocaine has been discovered along the Atlantic coast, as it and other drugs continued to wash up daily.

Police have urged people not to touch the packages due to the cocaine being a health hazard owing to it being extremely pure at some 83 per cent, but some have still attempted to get their hands on the drugs, with a street value in the millions of euros.

AFP reported that this has prompted police to close beaches and start carrying out patrols.

On Monday (local time) last week, a 17-year-old was reportedly caught with five kilograms of cocaine at Lacanau, a closed-off surfing beach near the southwestern city of Bordeaux. The young man had reportedly come from Toulouse, a three-hour drive away.

Six other beaches in the area have also reportedly been closed, with police stopping walkers for searches and also checking cars leaving nearby parking lots.

The drugs have been reported turning up on beaches near Nantes on the Loire River, all the way to the resort town of Biarritz, more than 500 kilometres to the south.

The packages have also reportedly been found farther north, with a five-kilogram parcel turning up at Camaret-sur-Mer on the western tip of Brittany last Tuesday, the public prosecutor in Rennes, Philippe Astruc, told AFP.

Officials are warning people who find the packages not to touch them, with the product described as “dangerous”, owing to it being 83 per cent pure cocaine, according to AFP.

French investigators are reportedly working with European counterparts as well as the US Drug Enforcement Agency to attempt to determine the cause of the drugs washing up.

“There are several hypotheses, but for the moment we think it’s likely they were jettisoned because of a mechanical problem or during a storm,” Astruc said.

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