Authorities came across a suspicious boat from Mexico in Pirate's Cove. The Panga, a fishing boat about 25-30 feet long, came ashore about 10:30 p.m. on Friday.
Powerful radar detected the boat and relayed the information to Homeland Security. An investigation turned up about a half-ton of marijuana aboard the ship.
"Border Patrol, L.A. Sheriffs and Search and Rescue showed up to a maritime smuggling incident," said U.S. Customs & Border Patrol of Homeland Security Agent Carrell. "This is a fraction of what we have so far."
Three men were arrested, but a fourth suspect got away.
Deputies say the case appears to be a smuggling operation gone wrong, but they're still investigating the details.
Pirates Cove, also known as Smugglers Cove, got its name more than a century ago when opium was sometimes unloaded by smugglers from Asia.