Customs officials from California have plucked cannabis worth more than $1m from the sea near the island of Santa Catalina.
A beachgoer alerted the authorities after spotting the suspicious-looking packages near one of the island’s bays.
The US Coast Guard scrambled a boat to investigate before scooping the 43 packages – containing more than 1,300lbs (590kg) – aboard.
Detectives from US Customs and Border Protection are investigating the origin of the contraband, but it is believed the packages may have originated in nearby Mexico.
Mexican drugs cartels are known to operate in the channel, running shipments on speedboats, often evading the many patrols in the area. It is thought the packages recovered may have been thrown overboard when a cartel boat found itself in the vicinity of a Coast Guard vessel.