Seven people were arrested after authorities found up to 6,000 pounds of marijuana during a Thanksgiving Day drug bust along California’s Central Coast, according to the San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s Office.
The incident began around 3:30 a.m. Thursday when a deputy pulled over a white Dodge van on Highway 1 in San Simeon and found between 60 and 90 large bales of marijuana, a news release from the Sheriff’s Office stated.
Authorities estimated that the marijuana weighed between 2,000 and 3,000 pounds.
The van’s driver was arrested.
Narcotics detectives were called into investigate the discovery and initiated a search of the coastline from Sam Simeon to the Monterey County line. During their search, detectives located a 35-foot panga boat containing 300 gallons of gasoline abandoned on a beach, according to the release.
Around 8:30 a.m., they located five men near the area and arrested them in connection with the alleged marijuana offload operation, the Sheriff’s Office said.
The detectives then alerted the sheriff’s offices in neighboring Santa Barbara and Monterey counties and to be on the lookout for any maritime smuggling, the release stated.
A short time later, Monterey sheriff’s deputies located a white Ford panel van on Highway 1 in the Big Sur area south of Carmel that also contained up to 90 bales of marijuana, authorities said.
Deputies seized the marijuana and arrested the van’s occupants.
In total, seven people between the ages of 17 and 41 were taken into custody on suspicion of conspiracy and importation/transportation of marijuana, the release stated.
A sheriff’s dive team removed the boat and the gasoline from the beach and drove it to Morro Bay. The marijuana was sent to crime lab to be processed and used as evidence.
An investigation into the incident was ongoing.