The Colombian navy made an unorthodox rescue on Sunday following a shipwreck off the country’s coast.
Thirty miles off of the Colombian Pacific coast, three suspected drug traffickers used bales of cocaine to stay afloat amongst the flotsam of the ship.
Navy officers reportedly threw the traffickers life belts from the coastguard ship to make the rescue.
According to CNN, nearly 3,000 pounds of cocaine hydrochloride were recovered.
The men have now been turned over to federal prosecutors, where they are expected to face charges of drug manufacturing, trafficking, and possession.
Columbia has long been synonymous with cocaine, both in popular culture and in reality. According to a September 2018 United Nations report, production of cocaine in the country has reached “a record high,” with projections estimating that it will only get worse before it gets any better.
With that, Columbia holds the throne as the number one cocaine producer in the world, with nearby markets being home to the majority of cocaine users. One recent survey found that as many as 1 in 20 American adults between the ages of 18 to 25 used the drug in 2015, with particularly high popularity along the Northeastern corridor.
According to the 2017 annual report from the American State Department, “there are troubling early signs that cocaine use and availability is on the rise in the United States for the first time in nearly a decade,” with the number of overdose deaths in the United States involving cocaine in 2015 being the highest since 2006, and the second-highest since 1999, the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration reported last year.
Canadians don’t shy away from cocaine use, either. Researchers at the Global Drug Survey. Out of the 36 countries surveyed, Canada came in second place for most usage in a year, trailing only Scotland. The median number for Canadians was 10, meaning that Canadians used cocaine just under once a month, on average.