FLAGLER COUNTY, Fla. – A man accused of attempting to steal marijuana has been arrested, according to the Flagler County Sheriff's Office.
On Thursday morning, authorities went to Jungle Hut Park in reference to a call about marijuana washing up on the beach. Officials said packages of marijuana have been appearing on the beaches in St. Johns, Flagler and Volusia counties in the past two days.
The caller on Thursday said she could see multiple packages, presumably containing marijuana, washing up on the beach and that the suspect, identified by the Sheriff's Office as Robert Kelley, was seen attempting to open the packaging and take packages of marijuana. Officials said others were attempting to do the same thing.
When deputies with the Sheriff's Office arrived at the scene, the caller identified Kelley to the deputies, officials said. While at the scene, Kelley did not attempt to approach deputies and alert them that he had found suspected narcotics.
According to officials, after speaking with the caller, deputies met with Kelley and asked if he had taken some of the suspected marijuana. Kelley pointed at his vehicle and said he was holding the marijuana in it, waiting for the arrival of law enforcement officers.
When Kelley was asked why he had not alerted law enforcement officers immediately, he said he did not alert authorities because he did not know if the Sheriff's Office was going to come or not, officials said.
The Sheriff's Office conducted a probable cause search of Kelley's vehicle and found a brick of suspected marijuana in his trunk. Officials said the brick was wrapped in plastic and contained about 11 pounds, wet weight, of a green leafy substance believed to be marijuana.
Kelley had attempted to conceal it by wrapping it in a brown beach towel, officials said. The suspected narcotics tested positive for marijuana.
Officials said the Sheriff's Office has recovered about 100 pounds of marijuana that has washed up on beaches in Flagler County during the past two days.
"This is another great example of 'See something, say something,'" Sheriff Rick Staly said. "This guy tried to take advantage of a situation and it completely backfired on him. Now, thanks to the joint effort of our citizens' watchful eyes and good police work, these narcotics are off the streets. To anyone thinking they can take advantage of marijuana washing up on shore, I have a warning for you. Is it worth a trip to the Green Roof Inn charged with a felony just for some 'free' weed?"
Officials said Kelley was arrested for possession of marijuana over 20 grams. He is at the Sheriff Perry Hall Inmate Detention Facility under $2,500 bond.
The recovered marijuana was turned over to U.S. Customs and Border Protection, which is continuing the investigation, officials said.