Coast Guard makes big pot seizure in SoCal

Nov. 20, 2008 at 12:56 PM
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NEWPORT BEACH, Calif., Nov. 20 (UPI) -- The U.S. Coast Guard says it recently spent half the night fishing bales of marijuana from the Pacific off the Southern California coast.

It took six hours for the 12-member crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Narwhal to salvage nearly 10,000 pounds of pot in 132 bales that were dumped by smugglers off the coast of San Diego, the Orange County (Calif.) Register said Thursday.

"Every time we turned around, we found five more bales," said Lt. Kristopher Ensley.

The haul was the largest by the Coast Guard in Southern California in about 15 years, Ensley told the Register.

The seizure originated about 100 miles southwest of San Diego when the Narwhal spotted a suspicious boat chugging north from Mexico around sunset on Sunday. When the vessel increased its speed as darkness fell, the crew of the Narwhal concluded they had found a smuggler.

The fleeing smugglers were able to reach Mexican waters after they dumped their cargo along a 3-mile trail.

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