U.S. Space Force Finds 30 Kilos of Cocaine While Looking for Sea Turtles

The drug bust blurs the line between military operations and civilian law enforcement.


The new U.S. Space Force apparently believes that only it should have the right to get really, really high.

Back in May, a group of guardians*—that's what members of the Space Force are called—with the Space Launch Delta 45 based at Patrick Space Force Base in Florida came across 30 kilograms of cocaine while conducting a nesting survey of sea turtles, according to Insider, which first reported the news earlier today.

Angy Chambers, a wildlife manager with the delta's 45th Civil Engineer Squadron, said she spotted a tightly wrapped plastic package while patrolling the beach during the survey.

"I immediately contacted the 45th Security Forces Squadron [SFS]," Chambers recounted in a Space Force press release. "While I was waiting for them to arrive, I drove a little further and noticed another package, and then another. At that point, I called SFS back and suggested they bring their UTV, or Utility Terrain Vehicle, as I counted at least 18 packages."

The Space Force guardians suspected the packages concealed drugs. Deputies with the Brevard County Sheriff's Office were called to the scene, where they performed a field test that confirmed the packages contained cocaine.

In the end, 24 cocaine parcels were found on the beach. The sheriff's office estimates that they're worth $1.2 million, although police valuations of the drugs seized are often absurdly overstated.

The drugs themselves were handed over to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, another relatively new security service of dubious utility. The Space Force press release says that the origins of the cocaine are still under investigation, although it appears to be terrestrial.

A story about Space Force guardians finding a bunch of cocaine while looking for sea turtles might tempt one to laugh, and to keep laughing so hard that one can't even breathe.

But there's really nothing funny about yet another government agency—and a branch of the military at that—lending a hand to America's disastrous drug war. Space Force's cooperation with police blurs the line between civilian law enforcement and military operations. It also demonstrates just how easily even new, futuristic arms of the state can be roped into an antiquated anti-drug crusade.

Correction: The original version of this article referred to members of the Space Force as defenders. They are called guardians. 

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57 responses to “U.S. Space Force Finds 30 Kilos of Cocaine While Looking for Sea Turtles

  1. Well, that’s quite the headline.

    Seems to me it would be a good idea to forbid the military from participating in any law enforcement activities. Just leave the cocaine where you found it and continue with your actual mission.

    1. It was not a law enforcement activity. They were counting turtle nests, and came upon cocaine bricks. And called a LEO outfit.

      Sometimes, we try to hard. This take by Britches is beyond that

      1. This. Square groupers have been landing on Florida beaches since time immemorial. It’s not like they were looking for the fucking things, nor searching every boat anywhere near the KSC Exclusion Zone to see if they could find more. They were looking for and surveying sea turtles, so they could conduct their missions with as minimum an impact on threatened wildlife (and as minimum an impact from threatened lawsuits) as possible. While they were looking for them—on a high security federal installation, I’m guessing—they saw the contraband flotsam.

        Is Britches expecting the AF Security Force (though it would be like .Mil to have a completely reduntant security force made up from Space Force people) folks to give the coke back?!

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    2. What business does the Space Force have looking for turtles?

      Turtles all the way down?

  2. Damnit. I just find rocks.

    1. You and Charlie Brown.

  3. Coked up turtles are a major threat to national security. It makes me want to join the space force.

    1. Where’s my Imperial Forces battle suit?

  4. Packages of cocaine were found on a beach at a US Military base. What were they supposed to do?

    Having said that, the whole “Space Force” description reads like a Tim Allen movie.

    1. Yeah, they found a loaded .38 on the beach, turned it in. Why is space force lending a hand to the Brady Campaign?

      1. If they had found lots of soda cans and picked them up, they would have been joining the Bloomberg war on soft drinks.

        1. Or maybe Spaceballs.

        2. They could turn all the cans in for the deposit and have a kegger on the beach.
          scratch the Spaceballs comment.

    2. This. While all drugs should be legal, they aren’t. It wasn’t like Space Force was monitoring the traffickers from orbit, I hope. They found drugs and reported them to authorities. And oh boy what a terrible first sentence, I was hoping that they had found the drugs, smuggled them onto the ISS and held a hooker orgy like the Secret Service would have done.

  5. But there’s really nothing funny about yet another government agency—and a branch of the military at that—lending a hand to America’s disastrous drug war.

    This is kind of the silly take. The scary take is why is space force surveying turtles?

    1. They were not “surveying turtles” it is sea turtle nesting season.
      They were looking for new nests so they could be marked and monitored. As far as I know this is standard for most bases on the Atlantic and gulf coasts.

    2. It’s not a silly take. It’s a stupid take, and Britches sounds like a scold. These writers really are aiming for NYT jobs. They’re starting to sound exactly like the whiny schoolmarms there.

  6. too easy. Pigs in Space.

  7. And the US Space Force is studying the nesting habits of sea turtles because?

    1. “if we can move the wee turtles to Mars we can finally develop West Palm.”

    2. Good question.

    3. My guess, to satisfy environmental impact reporting. Per the article it was a survey. With the increase of space travel it would be reasonable that the base needs to be expanded (but again just spit balling here), so we need to count the turtles and in 10 years after multiple lawsuits and administrative delays they will finally break ground.

    4. Wildlife surveys are done all the time on military bases.

      The bases usually have large areas of empty land that the military only uses occasionally. So the bases double as wildlife sanctuaries.

    5. What else are they supposed to do? It isn’t like they can train in the space ships they don’t have so unless there’s an incoming ICBM or rogue asteroid to try and shoot down they might as well get the turtle’s take on beach quality.

  8. That [in the picture] is most definitely NOT a sea turtle.

    That is a red eared turtle, like you used to find in the little take home zoos in the back of the local five and dime store. They used to paint flowers and such on their backs. I understand they carried diseases so you can’t buy them as pets any more.

    I had one named “Strawberry” and he lived in a little plastic lagoon with a palm tree in the middle of his little island.

    1. We get snapping turtles from the nearby river.
      Do not approach…they’re grumpy.

    2. We had Sport and Little Fella from Parkchester’s Woolworth 5 & dime. No palm tree in the middle of the plastic island, though. Sport kept climbing on Little Fella’s back to get out, and eventually escaped. Little Fella died — of loneliness, I thought, though I tried to fix that with a toy turtle that Little Fella could see outside the plastic. Hard to tell when a turtle’s dead, though.

  9. My first thought was Gamera.

    1. Darn you, mine too.

      1. It’s obviously a set-up, Gamera is a friend of children.

        Send Officer Godzilla to investigate.

  10. Like quite a lot of confiscated drugs, this coke will probably find its way back on the street and soon. Pricey evidence has a way of disappearing from the clutches of law enforcement. I wonder why?

  11. Space Force personnel are called “Guardians.” I wouldn’t bother to post but you went out of your way to say (and mock) “defenders” three times. If you’re going to make fun of their goofy title, you should should make sure you’ve got the right one…

    1. “Defenders” are Air Force Security personnel.

    2. So they ar the guardians… Of the galaxy?

      1. Solar System, but they’re working up to it.

  12. Last place I’d wanna do blow is underwater with turtles

  13. I assume Biden put hunter in charge of “securing” the cocaine.

    1. ROFLMAO!
      Good one!

  14. Jack O’Neill would never waste his time counting turtles.

  15. Is this Space Force led by the one and only Dark Helmet(Rick Moranis)?

  16. Ya know, I for one am glad that Reason is now featuring Babylon Bee.

  17. Ya know,working up to it.

  18. That anti-government Trump really came thru by creating a new branch of the military…

    1. asshole flag!

  19. Back in May, a group of defenders—that’s what members of the Space Force are called

    OMFG. They’re Guardians. They’re called Guardians. Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines, and fucking Guardians.

    How goddamned hard is it to get something like this right? Its not even a tank.

    However, the real question is – why the fuck do we have a Space Force if they’ve got so little to do that they can spend time fucking around in the water looking for turtles.

    But there’s really nothing funny about yet another government agency—and a branch of the military at that—lending a hand to America’s disastrous drug war.

    Are you serious? Are you serious?

    They found a package of drugs. They weren’t ‘cooperating’ with police at all. They stumbled on a package of drugs and called the cops to deal with it.

    They were not conducting police work. They were not assisting police in their work.

    This does not ‘blur the line’.


    This article is bad and you should feel bad.

    1. another relatively new security service of dubious utility.

      Yeah . . . if you consider 2002 to be ‘relatively recently.

      and it is, technically, a police agency. Which the Coast Guard is in. Another police agency that has really by guns, ships, missiles, and aircraft.

      If you want something that blurs the line between police and military – its the Coast Guard.

      A couple Space Force jerkoffs finding some coke on the beach and calling the cops is not that.

  20. Meanwhile in Miami, the DEA found 30 sea turtles while looking for cocaine. When MDPD were called they mistook the turtles for dogs and shot all of them.

  21. Another typical ‘reason’ fantasy. It wasn’t a “bust;” they found the bricks washed up on the beach. On the military installation. The only blurry line here is whatever Britschgi was snorking while writing this garbage. I suppose if he finds a penny on the sidewalk, he’ll claim he participated in money laundering bust.

  22. Satire?

  23. Is The Onion still a thing?

  24. Just think… If instead of spending billions to rob that stuff under color of superstition masquerading as law, folks simply voted libertarian and repealed prohibition the same way it got passed to begin with. Luna could be fairly well colonized by now and efforts under weigh to snag Mars an atmosphere. Instead we have prohibitionist drug czar Geriatric Joe banning trade and production.

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