What appeared to be a miraculous find to a British man nearly cost him his freedom after the chap came across an enormous stash of cocaine that had washed up on the beach and helped himself to an amount worth tens of thousands of dollars.
34-year-old Julian Underhill helped himself to a portion of the nearly 800-pound stash after he came across it on a Norfolk beach, Metro reported. The drugs were hidden in a bundle of duffle bags and other similar containers, so Underhill grabbed the contents of one bag and went on with his day.
It would have been the perfect crime if Underhill kept quiet and managed to sell his misbegotten haul before getting caught by police, but instead he started bragging about his potential riches to his friends.
“The defendant in his text message to another individual said that he had effectively stumbled upon what he described as Willy Wonka’s Golden Ticket and that he anticipated he could be £20,000 to £30,000 ($26,236 to $39,354) better off as a result of that find,” said prosecutor Martin Ivory.
Other beachgoers eventually reported that cocaine had been washing up on various beaches in the Norfolk area, prompting the UK’s National Crime Agency to investigate. The containers holding the drugs were believed to have been tied to buoys off the coast to facilitate stealthy transfers, but stormy conditions instead caused them to drift ashore.
When officials zeroed in on Underhill and went to make the arrest, he made one last-ditch effort to get rid of the goods.
“They went into the premises and it was noted he was very nervous and sweating profusely, he asked for a glass of water which was given to him – he subsequently threw that glass of water over a bag of white powder,” Ivory said.
Underhill’s defense attorney described him as a “somewhat pathetic heavy user of both cannabis and crack cocaine” who was simply trying to impress a female friend by bragging about the find. He was ultimately handed a two-year suspended sentence over the incident.