Robert S. Mueller III touched down in Concord to prosecute a massive hashish bust.

On a spring day in 1974, just across the street from where now stands the Westfield Mall, cops hauled 1,800 pounds of marijuana and 46 pounds of hashish from high-security trucks into the San Francisco Mint Building.
More than $450,000 worth of drugs, seized by U.S. Customs over a two-year period, went up in smoke that afternoon. The flames were snuffed in the Mint's after-burner, "lest they induce a gigantic high." The story ran in the May 18, 1974 edition of The San Francisco Chronicle 
Media: San Francisco Chronicle
Four years later, a young
Robert S. Mueller III touched down in Concord to prosecute a massive hashish bust. Then the Assistant U.S. Attorney, Mueller has become a household name as the special counsel presiding over the FBI's current Russia probe.
See more photos of massive drug busts in the San Francisco Bay Area – including a motorcycle cop with a 150-pound sack of pot on his lap – in the above slideshow.
These obscure vignettes reflect a time that may soon be resigned to Bay Area history. Californians voted to legalize the recreational use and sale of cannabis last year. The law goes into effect Monday. However, many of the photos above are from federal busts, which may still be carried out despite California's changing laws.
For full coverage of the rollout of legal marijuana in California, check out the Chronicle's
Michelle Robertson is an SFGATE staff writer. Email her at or find her on Twitter at @mrobertsonsf.


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