Feds seize 204 bales of marijuana from panga near San Simeon
December 27, 2013
Law enforcement officials seized 204 bales of marijuana, totaling 3,570 pounds, from a panga boat that beached north of Piedras Blancas Lighthouse and San Simeon on Monday. [Tribune]
A witness spotted the smugglers late Monday afternoon and alerted the San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s Office. The smugglers left the marijuana bales and fled.
“If it was not the whole load, it was a substantial part of it,” said Sheriff’s Sgt. Stuart MacDonald. “It looked to me to be about all the vessel would carry.”
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement investigators, sheriff’s deputies, State Parks rangers and CHP officers responded to the scene around 5 p.m. Monday but could not catch the smugglers
No arrests have occurred and a Homeland Security investigation is ongoing.
MacDonald said Monday’s smuggling operation was poorly organized.
“I think it’s safe to say the shore side logistics were not in place,” MacDonald said. “There appears to have been no vehicle to load the drugs into.”
The boat used by the smugglers has a value of about $10,000. Each of its two motors is worth about $2,000.
The watercraft was the 10th panga confiscated in San Luis Obispo County since May 2012.
The sheriff’s office is using federal grant funds to increase panga patrols.