Someone, somewhere, is in for a really rough Monday morning after losing track of millions of dollars worth of inventory over the weekend.
Orange County Harbor Patrol found 8,068 pounds of marijuana floating off the coast of Dana Point in Orange County, Calif., Sunday afternoon. They were tipped off to the bales, floating 15 miles from shore, at around noon. Local authorities spent the rest of the evening hauling 180 bales of pot onto their boats and unloading it at Dana Point Harbor.
Jerry Conlin, a spokesperson for the U.S. Border Patrol, told The Huffington Post that the discovery was "not normal" because officials didn't see a boat or high-speed chase near the abandoned bales.
"To find that much out there floating in the water is not normal," said Conlin. "There have been no arrests made at this moment, and there's no vessel that's been seized. It is an ongoing investigation."
Conlin, who has been working for the Border Patrol for seven years, says he's never seen a haul like this. The U.S. Border Patrol estimates that the discovered marijuana is worth $4.03 million.
A combination of federal, state and law enforcement authorities worked together to recover the marijuana. It was then turned over to the U.S. Border Patrol, according to an official statement from the agency.
Altogether, the Coastguard, ICE, local harbor patrols, Border Patrol and any other law enforcement agency in the maritime realm has seen a recent increase in ocean drug smuggling. According to the U.S. Border Patrol, combined figures from all of these agencies show that in 2008, there were a total of 45 known smuggling events and 203 apprehensions related to maritime narcotics smuggling. In 2011, those figured jumped to 183 events and 631 apprehensions.
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