Capps holds panga prevention meeting

April 23, 2014

pangaCongresswoman Lois Capps met with federal, state and local law enforcement officials Monday to disuss warding off panga boat smuggling operations along the Central Coast. [KSBY]

Law enforcement officials from San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara and Ventura counties attended the meeting. The gathering took place in the city of Santa Barbara.

Between May 2012 and February 2014, 12 documented pangas have smuggled drugs into San Luis Obispo County, according to Sheriff Ian Parkinson. Four of those incidents resulted in a total of 62 arrests and the seizure of about $8.8 million of marijuana.

Parkinson requested that the board of supervisors approve a $500,000 in federal grant funding for the sheriff’s office to acquire a panga-defense boat and other equipment for tracking smugglers. The 27-foot boat costs nearly $350,000.

The board approved Parkinson’s request during its meeting Tuesday.


Well I see in the bird cage liner that the bos gave the go ahead to acquire the toys as the Sheriffs office wanted,although Hill did have reservations and did ask some loaded questions, the board went ahead and blessed it anyway,what a waste.


The WASTE is the bogus ‘War on Drugs’….this past half century’s version of Prohibition.

That did not work, either; unless one counts the establishment of organised crime syndicates a form of success.

Decriminalize and watch the ‘crime’ rates go down, panga smuggling ended, plus provide added sources of revenue.


The only difference between men and boys is the price of their toys! Can’t the pot dealers and smokers just import their goods from Washington and Colorado? Why is international trafficking even an issue anymore? BUY AMERICAN!


When it comes to weed, people do buy American. Nobody wants this weed that is being smuggled in, which is why the whole issue of the panga boats is might suspicious.


The drug kingpins have gotten quite comfortable with their income from smuggled marijuana. If legalization dries up the market, they may try to find some other drug (probably more dangerous) to substitute and continue their operations. Their may be a slow down in smuggling (including the panga boats) but I would be surprised if it stops entirely.

That said, I agree with everyone else that this boat is just another expensive toy and a justification for bureaucratic expansion (aka mission creep). If you absolutely have a need for more protection, let the Coast Guard handle it until they hit land and coordinate with the Sheriff’s Dept. to take over from there.


The Coast Guard should be the recipients of this money period.

They have the training and the seaworthiness to better utilize the taxpayer money in a manner that could actually make a difference. What I see happening is a lot of additional sheriff’s officers being hired to observe the coastline and additional staff to operate the new 350K boat as well as all the training associated with that. Additional gear for personnel, a NEW vehicle to transport the boat to the water!

Another thing we as taxpayers need to understand is that this is funding for three years……So, after all this huge plus up of equipment and personnel takes place…..after three years their going to be asking for more $$$ to continue this effort. Where do you think the sustainment funding will be coming from to keep this empire building effort alive? YOU and ME

This issue needs to be handled by the Coast Guard and/or Navy. The sheriff could be in contact with them if a panga boat is located so if the bad guys reach the shore, the sheriff can grab them.

Once again the BOS doesn’t look further than the “friends within” to reach a sensible decision when it comes to funding projects with taxpayer money.


Last 3 comments dead on. Just what I’ve been wondering all along. You could give me a Gulfstream Jet, but I’d just sell it because I don’t the money to operate it. And WTF with a fully staffed and equipped Maytag-repairman-Coast Guard Station in Morro Bay that is not allowed to provide a simple service to another agency? And if not, contract with some marine services company. Does the sheriff they need tow trucks for the roads as well? SLO County could use some more well-targeted law enforcement resources but these ain’t them. These equipment acquisitions are expensive toys.


The last thing the SLO Sheriff’s department needs is a $350,000 boat and the annual upkeep that goes with it. Where are the brains in this meeting? We already have boats with the Coast Guard, Harbor patrol and Fish and Game. This is a great example of how stupid government can be. Capps will spend money on anything for a vote, Parkinson just wants more money for his department and we all know most of our BOS are thinking about other activities.

Can you just imagine the Chinese fire drill with the Sheriff’s department when a panga boat is spotted. By the time the Sheriff’s boat arrives on scene the party will be over. It will not prevent any crime it will merely be another toy for the deputies to play with while criminals are busy plotting the next event..


Isn’t this currently the job of the Coast Guard…to “guard” our coast?

Here again is a PERFECT example of how to add to the ever growing, over inflated, inefficient, bureaucracy.


350,000 bucks for a panga defense boat? My reponse to Parkinson is straight from the Merriam-Webster dictionary ….


noun \ˈbün-ˌdä-gəl, -ˌdȯ-\

: an expensive and wasteful project usually paid for with public money


I’ll have to pay attention when they bring another one into Morro Bay and see if it gets wadded up and junked and where the motors go,those are not cheap,also where does the dope go that they find,we never hear about all that,I don’t think we need to wizz away taxpayer dollars on another boat for the Sherrif,they have enough toys already.


O.k. Mr. and Ms. taxpayer, prepare for another Gov. spending spree!!! Yep they will say more cops, more boats, more this and more that and you Mr and Mrs. taxpayer will ask…………so what will I get? Answer? More of the same with the same results. Now you ask BTDT how do you know this? You are just making assumptions. No. Look at the war on drugs for the last forty years. Are they still coming by boat in the Gulf of Mexico? How about by land from Tx. to Ca.? How about all the tunnels? Airplanes? Yea let’s throw more money at it that is what is needs. Yep that is what a politician always tells you.


Could not agree with you more BTDT. Forty years and truly very few inroads but lots of agencies making their livings and burdening the taxpayers. Wise up people.

Theo P. Neustic

I have nothing to add really to all of the other comments. All so true. These government agencies just love their new toys. Ever notice just how many cars there are around the coast with stars on the side. Sheriff, CHP, DFW, NMFS, State Parks, MBHD,Coast Guard, PSLHD, MBPD? Don’t forget about the bear in the air as well. They just keep growing their bureaucracies , keeping the citizens under their ever watchful eyes lest we stray. I can hardly wait until the follies of the Sheriff’s department begin with their new speed boat out in the ocean close in to rocky shores. BTW, there is already a extensive program involving commercial fishermen and their vessels that are trained to respond to oil spills. People, many who have spent at least 30 years at sea in local areas that could be called upon to tow Pangas back to the harbor. The idea that the Sheriff is actually going to intercept many, if any, pangas prior to their hitting the beach is laughable, if it weren’t for the huge waste of money.