Family shares shock from vacation, finding 44 pounds of cocaine washed ashore in S.C.


SEYMOUR, Tenn. (WATE) – You’ve heard about messages in a bottle or things being lost at sea – and in many ways that was the case for a Seymour family while vacationing in South Carolina.

But what they found on Fripp Island has been creating a number of questions and an investigation.

MORE: Family on SC vacation pulls 44 pounds of cocaine from ocean

Investigators with the Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office say the family found 20 kilos, about 44-pounds, of cocaine floating close to shore.

“Once I opened it up, it was well wrapped, and wow. I was pretty scared and still am,” said Justus Holland.

Holland says last week while his family was vacationing, they decided to take a moonlit walk on the beach.

“I looked off in the distance and I could see something moving, something dark, so I thought maybe it was a sea turtle in distress,” she recalls. “We walk up, get a little closer to shine our light on it and realize it’s a large package.”

(Contributed photo from Justus Holland)

Holland says they brought the package to shore, then back to their beach house.

“Open it up and as I’m opening it up I realize what it is. I immediately stepped back from it, had the kids step back from it. I called the authorities and had them take it from there.”

The Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office says situations like this are rare.

“We didn’t know what to expect. I’ve never seen anything like that, we’re just a mom-and-pop shop, local yokels and wow. I’ve never seen anything like this. That’s something that you see in the movies,” said Holland.

Investigators believe Hurricane Dorian may have pushed the package of drugs to the beach.

“God will speak to you and I know I did the right thing, but it’s a little nerve-wracking,” added Holland.

Beaufort Sheriff’s deputies say the cocaine will be destroyed.

For Holland, he’s still running through a million different scenarios: “It’s mind-blowing and I can’t wrap my head around it. Did I save someone’s life? Did God intervene and use me as a tool?”

Investigators with the Sheriff’s Office and the federal Drug Enforcement Administration are working to learn where the cocaine came from and where it was headed.

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