Florida Keys

Dog sniffs out a brick of pot during nightly walk in the Keys

A dog will hunt — and sniff, often digging up some “treasures” in the process.

Caicos, a goldendoodle belonging to Dennis Dering of Long Valley, N.J., came across quite a find while taking a walk on Duck Key.

Dering, who spends the winter season in the Keys, takes Caicos for a walk along a seawall about twice a week. The sunset strolls are typically quiet, enjoyable and uneventful. This time was quiet and peaceful, but not uneventful.

Along with washed up seagrass and other debris that clings to the seawall, man and his best friend found a brick of pot.

“I said to myself, ‘I think that's fricking marijuana,’” Dering said.

He called the Monroe County Sheriff's Office. The deputy who came out to the house on Saturday confirmed it was the illegal weed.

Monroe Sheriff's Office spokeswoman Deputy Becky Herrin said that since there was no arrest report written up, the agency did not bother weighing the package. An accurate weight also may not have been possible because the weed was pretty waterlogged, she said.

Dering described the brick as “good-sized.”

He said the deputy told him someone must have tossed the brick of pot over the side of his or her vessel, possibly because a law enforcement boat crew was closing in.

The U.S. Coast Guard says there have been more bales of drugs found floating off the Keys than in years past, but there also has been no recent uptick. That’s in contrast to the 1980s and 1990s, when bales of pot and cocaine would routinely turn up in our waters. It was so prevalent that pot bricks were known by the slang name of square grouper.

Herrin said that given South Florida’s storied history with drug smuggling, finding a washed-up bale of cocaine or marijuana could happen, but long gone are the heady days of the cocaine cowboys.

“Finding a bale like this one is not a common or frequent occurrence, although it is not unheard of,” Herrin said.

Like other dogs, goldendoodles have a keen sense of smell, but Dering said he spotted the brick before Caicos. However, after discovering the package, Dering said the hound seemed to quickly develop a palate for the smell of the sensimilla.

“She didn't sniff it out, but she certainly was sniffing it,” he joked.