ALAMEDA -- A crew aboard the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Waesche, which is based in Alameda, seized more than 2,400 pounds of marijuana from a boat about 300 miles west of San Diego and apprehended three suspected smugglers on Friday, according to Coast Guard officials.

It happened after a crew aboard a Sacramento-based Coast Guard C-130 Hercules aircraft patrolling the Pacific Ocean over international waters spotted the boat, prompting the three individuals to begin tossing the bales of suspected contraband overboard, the Coast Guard said.

The aircraft notified the nearby Waesche, which dispatched its onboard helicopter and a boarding team on a small interceptor boat.

Along with taking three individuals into custody, the Coast Guard said its members recovered 70 bales containing marijuana from the ocean.

Details about those taken into custody, such as their ages and nationality, were not immediately available.

The 418-foot Waesche is the second of the newer National Security Cutters launched to replace the 378-foot High Endurance Hamilton class cutters, which have been in service since the 1960s. The Waesche is named after Russell R. Waesche, the first member of the Coast Guard to achieve the rank of admiral.

Reach Peter Hegarty at 510-748-1654 or follow him on Twitter.com/Peter_Hegarty/.



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