SAN DIEGO (AP) — A federal judge ruled Friday that authorities can destroy nine tons of squid and most of 13 tons of cocaine being preserved as evidence in a drug trial.
Coast Guard crewmen seized the drugs and squid in April from a Belize-flagged fishing boat about 1,500 miles south of San Diego. Defense lawyers argued the squid was evidence that the crew was fishing, not smuggling drugs.
Prosecutors said it was unnecessary to spend more than $40,000 a month to store the cocaine and frozen squid.
Since the seizure, the government has spent about $4,000 to preserve the squid and about $90,000 for the cocaine, which needed special storage because it was contaminated with diesel fuel. The judge said all but 515 pounds of the cocaine can be destroyed.