Pirates of the Puerto Rican Caribbean: The Curse of the Buried Cocaine

LEAVE THE BEACH TRASH ALONE!

Remember all those times you walked the beach on vacation hoping to find something of value that washed up overnight. Hell, an unbroken seashell was often a treasure. Rodney Hyden can top that! Hyden lives in Alachua County, Florida and had the bad fortune of befriending a new neighbor who relocated from Puerto Rico. The neighbor told Hyden about a time when he found 11 kilos of cocaine that washed ashore and how he buried it near a trailer when he lived near the beach. Hyden owns his own construction company and being an astute businessman, he saw a way to make a few bucks if he could locate the buried treasure and find a buyer.

Hyden told several people of his plan including Daniel Jimenez, who unbeknownst to Hyden, was an informant for the Alachua County Sheriff’s Office. Two undercover agents posing as narcotics traffickers met with Hyden and offered to help him get the drugs to Northeast Florida. Hyden went to Puerto Rico twice seeking the drugs, but couldn’t find them. He ended up giving a treasure map of where he thought the drugs might be to the undercover agents and the cops struck pay dirt—they found the drugs, which had degraded to the point of being worthless.

A jury convicted Hyden of aiding and abetting the possession with the intent to distribute 11 pounds of cocaine. Fortunately for Hyden, there was no mandatory minimum associated with his case–Hyden wanted straight probation whereas the government wanted him to serve 30 months in the pokey.

At sentencing, Judge Timothy Corrigan noted that: “if this case wasn’t so serious it would make a great movie”–“It’s a combination of ‘Breaking Bad’ and the ‘Secret Life of Walter Mitty.’” Judge Corrigan ordered Hyden to serve 60 days in jail and complete one year of house arrest. Additionally, as a condition of supervised release, Hyden was ordered to volunteer an average of 20 hours a week at Habitat for Humanity and build a splash park for his community.

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