The dramatic capture of 14 men and $12 million worth of marijuana in a bullet-punctuated raid of a 10-foot yacht off the Oregon shore unveiled a ceast-to-coast narcotics ring, police said yesterday.
Authorities said the arrest of the smugglers seized Saturday with the help of a Coast Guard helicopter and dogs that tracked down suspects who tried to escape abore, resulted from a simple act of unneighborliness by owners of a 210-acre coastal ranch who used the site for unloading operations.
Coos County Sheriff Les Miller said the new owners of the ranch four miles south of bandon suspiciously refused to allow fishermen access to the beach leading to surveillance of the area and seizure of at least six tons of high-quality marijuana in more than 300 boxes.
Previous owners of the ranch had changed fishermen $2 to use the beach, Miller said.
The arrest "may be the biggest marijuana drug bust on the West Coast," said Coast Guard spokesman Steve Tiggerman.
The land, sea and air capture operation by about 50 federal, police and sheriff officers began after authorities watched several apparrent dry runs of landing operations and staked out the area Friday night, Miller said.