California Harbor Patrol officers have fished out almost 8,000 pounds (3.6 tonnes) of marijuana that was spotted floating off the coast of Orange County. Local border patrol agents estimate the pot haul has a $3.6 million street value.
About 160 bales of the drug were retrieved off the coast of Dana Point, South of Los Angeles.
The gigantic haul was first reported by a boater who spied the bales bobbing about 15 miles (24 km) from the shore.
Border patrol agent supervisor Michael Jimenez described the event as out of the ordinary given that “the bales were floating with no boat in sight." He added that in similar cases of maritime smuggling, vessels usually jettison their cargo to get rid of weight when they are being chased.
So far no suspects have been identified in connection with the ongoing investigation.
On Wednesday in the north of the state, 19 people were arrested in a drugs bust. The owners of two indoor garden shops were found to be at the center of a large marijuana trafficking operation.
Federal agents and local police seized 3,600 marijuana plants, almost 100 pounds of processed marijuana, dozens of guns and a grenade launcher as part of Operation Disco Dazed.
California has a comparatively liberal stance towards marijuana, allowing medical patients who have received approval from a physician to cultivate and consume marijuana.
However, the possession and the distribution of the drug are considered felonies under current legislation.