If you want an ultra-secure place to stash your marijuana, Vandenberg Air Force Base, the third largest such institution in America, is a good place for it.

About $1 million of weed was found north of Wall Beach on the base yesterday, officials said. It's safe and sound. Of course, no one will ever get to smoke it.

The discovery, a first for the Lompoc base, was reported …

… by a pair of Vandenberg AFB “members” about 12:50 p.m. yesterday, Col. Nina Armagno told reporters.

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At first base officials thought they were hot on the trail of a panga boat crash, according to a Vandenberg statement. The base's security threat level was increased and authorities searched for suspects, Armagno said.

But then officials realized that the bad guys might have spent some time in the area. Armagno says the pot near the boat was “wrapped” in dark trash bags and “stacked:”

It looks like an attempt to camouflage it with surrounding brush.

Virginia Kice of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement told us that there was as much as 3,000 pounds of cannabis found stashed in a gully. Armagno added that the amount is “kind of shocking.”

She said pangas had been discovered north and south of the base, but never before on it.

The 20-foot aluminum panga boat, the type popular with Mexican drug smugglers and human traffickers, was found overturned, its engine disconnected and nearby, Armagno said.

She said it was possible the boat became disabled or that it was tossed in the approaching storm.

Authorities on base conducted random searches of vehicles, but no suspects were found.

A Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Department helicopter and California Highway Patrol airplane assisted in the search, Armagno said. ICE's Homeland Security Investigations took over the investigation at 5:40 last night, according to a base statement.


They [the suspects] took some time to do this. That makes us suspect they might come back or they might have thought they were going to come back before they realized they were on an Air Force base. We are going to be extremely vigilant.

[@dennisjromero / djromero@laweekly.com / @LAWeeklyNews]

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