Approximately $2 million worth of cocaine washed up on a New Zealand beach on Wednesday, leading authorities to search the area for more of the contraband.
A local resident found the illicit drug wrapped in blue packages scattered about Bethells Beach west of Auckland and notified police, the New Zealand Herald reported.
After the packages tested positive for cocaine, authorities began a major search up and down the rugged coast.
Detective Inspector Colin Parmenter of Waitematä police urged the public to contact authorities if any more packages turn up on the beach.
A crime expert cited by The Guardian said the packages likely came from Peru or Columbia, where it could be purchased for around $7,500 per kilogram and sold in New Zealand for about $250,000 per kilogram.
“There is a huge mark-up and quite a big margin of profit to be made by these syndicates. So, they can definitely afford to lose consignments to the tune of $3 million,” said Jose Sousa-Santos, a Pacific crime researcher at New Zealand’s Massey University.
Parmenter said authorities would be patrolling the shore for the next few days to see if other items wash up.
Late last month, the U.S. Coast Guard offloaded more than 26,000 pounds of cocaine -- worth an estimated $350 million – in San Diego as part of a weeks-long operation in international waters.
Fox News' Paulina Dedaj contributed to this report.