The nation's largest combined seizure of hashish and marijuana netted 50 tons of drugs and a family of smugglers, including the former cellmate of "The Falcon and the Snowman" spy Christopher Boyce, authorities said.
The Coast Guard and federal agents Tuesday displayed about 371/2 tons of hashish and 121/2 tons of marijuana found concealed on a barge seized along with its 72-foot tugboat as it steamed under the Golden Gate Bridge Monday night.The Coast Guard, which has been criticized lately for impounding boats with minute amounts of drugs aboard under the controversial "zero tolerance" program, called the action the nation's largest combination hashish-marijuana confiscation. The hashish haul alone also rated as the greatest in U.S. history.
"I'm really glad this happened," said Lt. Cmdr. Jack Hardin of the 12th Coast Guard District. "We have been getting a black eye lately for zero tolerance, and this shows what we're doing."
A Coast Guard spokesman said Monday night's seizure was the first major bust involving pot and hashish hidden in the same vessel and climaxed a 3-month investigation by the Coast Guard, Customs Service, Drug Enforcement Agency and Internal Revenue Service.
Federal agents docked the tug and barge at Yerba Buena Island, where three dozen Coast Guardsmen spent much of the day unloading bales of drugs, which Customs said were worth $162 million. The contraband was displayed on pallets in thousands of 50-pound burlap bundles and 22-pound packages of marijuana.