Jul 30, 2014
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3,000 Pounds of Marijuana Found Floating in Ocean

A fresh shipment of marijuana will not be coming to anyone who might have been waiting for it in the Temecula area, following the discovery and seizure of 77 bales of the stuff south of here.

3,000 Pounds of Marijuana Found Floating in Ocean 3,000 Pounds of Marijuana Found Floating in Ocean 3,000 Pounds of Marijuana Found Floating in Ocean 3,000 Pounds of Marijuana Found Floating in Ocean

Editor's Note: This story was updated at 8:31 p.m. to include a quote from Petty Officer Third Class Connie Gawrelli.

Thousands of pounds of marijuana will not be coming Temecula's way, following the discovery of 77 bales of the drug floating in international waters south of here, authorities said.

The bales contained about 3,200 pounds of marijuana, officials said.

The U.S Coast Guard -- using cutter and response boat crews -- retrieved the bales Wednesday, with the help of Coast Guard Jayhawk and Border Patrol Blackhawk helicopter crews, according to Petty Officer Third Class Connie Gawrelli.

"It was floating about 30 miles off Mission Beach," Gawrelli told Patch in a telephone interview.

The distance of up to 12 miles out to sea comprises territorial waters.

Gawrelli said the seizure of the drugs was "effectively keeping them off the street," in every city north of San Diego.

"We don't know if it was a smuggler that got spooked by the helicopter and jettisoned the bales," Gawrelli said.

The bales might also have been put out to sea for a boat crew to pick up, she said.

"They actually had to do quite a search to get all the bales collected," Gawrelli told Patch.

The U.S. Navy contacted Coast Guard Sector San Diego Wednesday evening, after a Navy helicopter crew spotted several bales of marijuana floating in international waters west of Mission Bay, Gawrelli said.

The drugs have been turned over to the U.S. Marine Task Force San Diego for disposal. 

An investigation into the origin of the drugs was undertaken.

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