Byline: Associated Press
SAN DIEGO (AP) — Federal agents have seized more than a ton of marijuana and arrested seven people they claim were trying to smuggle pot near Santa Catalina Island.
According to San Diego-based customs agents, authorities spotted a sailboat acting suspiciously near the island before dawn Aug. 22. Agents boarded it and took three Southern California men into custody.
Authorities say a few hours later, a helicopter spotted a small panga boat several miles away. Authorities say the crew began dumping marijuana bales overboard but the boat still had $1 million worth of pot when it was seized after a brief chase.
Customs officials say it’s becoming more common for smugglers to transfer their cargo from panga boats to recreational vessels that can blend in more easily with legitimate traffic.