Panga boat beaches near San Simeon campground

September 11, 2013

1-1San Luis Obispo County Sheriff deputies and State Park Rangers discovered a beached panga boat with a package of marijuana near the San Simeon State Park Campground Tuesday morning.

The 30-foot panga boat had been abandoned with one 30-pound package of marijuana inside. Investigators believe that smugglers unloaded several thousand pounds of marijuana from the boat overnight Monday or early Tuesday morning.

Deputies and rangers found the boat around 8 a.m. Tuesday after receiving a report that it was beached near the campground.

Detectives estimate the street value of the marijuana recovered from the panga at $18,000.

The San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s Office is continuing to investigate the case along with the State Park Rangers and the U.S. Coast Guard.


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Forget the metal detector, buy a pot sniffing dog and win a new boat too.

Why did they leave just one bundle? What do you want to bet there were originally 2-3 and someone nabbed the others before the police were called.

I still believe the feds/state/sheriff’s ought to auction these boats if they’re in good condition. The outboards alone are worth $8,000-$10,000 each and most of these boats have two.

The Pangas are a really well-designed, ocean-worthy vessel and I’m sure there are people who would pay for them, especially the motors.

The government sells off cars, houses, jewelry and such confiscated from drug dealers, but won’t sell these fishing boats to people who might want one. Might help pay for some of these multiple agency investigations and take some of the burden off the taxpayers.

Just another government waste.

The most likely reason they won’t sell them is because they’re using the same boats over and over again to stage these bogus weed smuggling operations.

I don’t think so. I’ve talked with a guy who says that the boat yards in Ensenada are pumping these things out 2-3 a week and they are basically a throw away vessel. He saw it for himself when he took his boat doen there to haul out.

They carry enough gas and provisions to get from Mexicao all the way up here — more than 1,000 miles on the ocean — and when they get here, they beach them, unload the cargo/illegal immigrants and leave the boat.

If they were going to run the boat back to Mexico, where would they get fuel? A boatload of drug runners pulling up to a fuel dock would stick out like a sore thumb anywhere on the CA coast.

They would have to have a chase boat offshore with fuel and provisions to be able to bring the boat back to Ensenada.

If they carry more than $1 million worth of pot, and only cost maybe $30,000 to build, so yeah, they are disposable boats.

What about Yamaha and Mercury? I bet they’re making a fortune off this little cottage industry that uses a motor once and then buys a new one.

Ten boats here in one year? That’s 20 motors, at $8,000 each is a lot of money. And that’s just the ones they found here. Dozens more have been found from San Diego to Santa Barbara and even up to Monterey.

The DHS has a web page that tracks this stuff.

And think about it. On the Central Coast we have two 47-foot motorlifeboats and two 6-meter rigid hull boats in the Coast Guard inventory, all based in MB. There is the Blue Fin, fish and game’s patrol boat here too, but that’s it from Santa Barbara to Monterey, and it’s a mighty big ocean out there.

But the Coast Guard’s main missions here are search and rescue and Homeland Security patrols off Diablo Canyon, not drug interdiction 100 miles offshore. So I’m not surprised one bit that they are bringing the boats in here.

I can only imagine how harrowing it must be for these people, especially the illegals who are just along for the ride. 100 miles offshore, in the wind and sun, fighting through who knows how big of seas, facing the threat of being run over by a cargo ship or oil tanker, and rogue waves.

Not to mention getting seasick!

It would be a terrifying trip. I wonder how many off these trips have ended in tragedy that no one ever hears about? Swallowed up by the sea…

P.S. It was a surfer who found and reported this panga boat, so the possibility that there were more bails of weed isn’t too far fetched.

Good question. These panga boats keep showing up here now on a regular basis. Why is nothing being done to catch these guys if we know now this is a regular dropoff point? It seems like more could be done: motion detectors, lights coming on, dogs to bark, etc.

The ACLU would probably be concerned about their “civil” rights….so we can’t have that can we?