U.S. Border Patrol agents seized more than 60 pounds of cannabis near an abandoned fishing boat Sunday in Malibu.
The agents responded to a report from the Maritime Coordination Center about a beached panga-style boat at Deer Creek Beach near Point Mugu State Park. Authorities did not find anyone near or aboard the 40-foot vessel that had washed ashore.
While searching the area, agents discovered large bundles totaling a little more than 60 pounds of marijuana with an estimated street value of $24,000. More than 500 gallons of fuel were also found aboard the boat.
“A vessel of this size, with this much power, is capable of carrying up to 5,000 pounds of narcotics and able to travel at a high rate of speed. Considering these capabilities, a boat like this would not likely be purposefully abandoned,” Border Patrol spokesman Ralph DeSio said.
Agents believe the drug smugglers were forced to abandon the boat, which had a broken steering cable.
Though California has the largest legal marijuana market in the world, its black market is even bigger, largely because of high taxes and most cities’ refusal to allow licensed shops.
Border Patrol and the Air and Marine Operations division of U.S. Customs and Border Protection have seized 925 pounds of marijuana and 26 vessels since October. More than 280 arrests connected to maritime smuggling events have been carried out in the San Diego sector, which includes the Los Angeles County coast.
Those with information about maritime smuggling along the coast are asked to contact local police.