Eight arrested after Thanksgiving panga beaches by San Simeon

November 28, 2014

7.14.13 pangaSan Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s deputies arrested eight suspects and confiscated at least one ton of marijuana after a panga boat beached near San Simeon early Thursday morning.

Around 3:30 a.m., deputies saw a white, full size Dodge panel van driving in the San Simeon area, which is considered a prime maritime smuggling location. The deputies conducted a traffic stop and noticed between 60 and 90 large bales of marijuana in the van.

The bales of marijuana are estimated to weigh between 2,000 and 3,000 pounds. Deputies arrested the driver and lone occupant of the van, Rafael Rebolledo.

Sheriff’s narcotics detectives then searched the coastline from San Simeon to the Monterey County line, looking for smuggling activity. Around 8:30 a.m., detectives found a 35-foot panga boat with three 225 HP Yamaha outboard engines abandoned on the beach.

Detectives then found five men who are allegedly connected with the marijuana offload. Investigators spotted the suspects near the Piedras Blancas lighthouse.

During the search for suspects, sheriff’s personnel alerted the Monterey County Sherriff’s Office, whose deputies stopped a second white Ford panel van that contained 60 to 90 barrels of marijuana. The stop occurred on Highway 1 south of Carmel and led to the arrest of the van’s occupants.

San Luis Obispo County’s sheriff’s dive team removed the panga and its gasoline and drove the boat under its own power to Morro Bay. Deputies transported the Dodge van to the sheriff’s crime lab, along with the confiscated marijuana, which is being held for evidence.

A sheriff’s new release lists eight people arrested, each of whom received charges of conspiracy and importation or transportation of marijuana. The suspects are: 41-year-old Rafael Rebolledo of Lynwood, 19-year-old Sergio Cortes of Moreno Valley, 26-year-old Lucio Laureano-Atanocio of Gilroy, 24-year-old Filberto Vasquez of an unknown city, 25-year-old Antonio Palomares of an unknown city and two 17-year-old males from Moreno Valley.

The sheriff’s office did not release the names of the two juveniles.

An investigation into the smuggling operation is ongoing.

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The boat was paid for out of a Federal grant program, the money was for a boat, not deputies or anything else. Had our sheriff’s department not accepted the grant Santa Barbara or Ventura or Los Angeles Counties would have. All three of those counties sheriffs already have ocean going boats and our county sheriff doesn’t.

If the county had been able to use the grant money for more deputies some of you folks would undoubtedly be on here bitching that we don’t need more cops stomping on our freedoms. To those folks who like to criticize our police officers at every turn I would ask that the next time they need help, they call for a crack addict instead of a police officer.

As far as the Coast Guard and protecting our coastline, the boats operating out of Morro Bay are rescue boats; they are great for storms, but lousy trying to chase fiberglass boats with three or four 225 hp outboard engines.

So this is like a “free” pet, right?

Yes, a free pet that somebody else will pay to feed, care for and send to the veterinarian paid for by the same grant that bought the boat.

Remember, this only exists because of this war on drugs. The demand is there—from our fellow citizens and the lack of supply makes smuggling marijuana insanely profitable. Legalize it and get an ounce of marijuana down to about $2 an ounce where it ought to be instead of $250 an ounce where it is and all the smuggling and corruption and politics go away.

I can buy a pound of coffee for $8, why should marijuana be any different?

More dreamers….

“…detectives found a 35-foot panga boat with three 225 HP Yamaha outboard engines abandoned on the beach…”

That is quite a boat, based on its description. Sell your party boat, Sheriff and just keep this panga boat.

Yeah, we wouldn’t want to do anything to increase our coastal security, much better to cut our noses off to spite our face out of our dislike for the sheriff’s department.

The boat is another boondoggle toy.

The cost of one boat would have paid the salary for a lot of eyes, focused on the coast.

Have we heard of the Sherriff’s boat being involved in the capture of a panga boat?

I don’t think the sheriff has the boat yet. I believe these are boats actually biuilt to your specific needs.

Custom boat, wow, that’s some program.

Specific needs? Seems like the needs of anyone along the coast would almost identical. Boat needs to float, go fast, hold passengers.

Boats aren’t complicated, it’s the bells and whistles you pay up the wazoo for.

It will be very interesting to see how many of these panga boats are discovered on the normal course of duty or by routine surveillance, as compared to those found by the Sherriff’s new money boat.

Something tells me, the Sherriff’s toy will render less impressive results than the guys on the ground just keeping their eyes peeled.

I rest my case

“San Luis Obispo County’s sheriff’s dive team removed the panga and its gasoline and drove the boat under its own power to Morro Bay.” Once again, this brings up the question several people of expressed about why the Sheriff’s Dept. needed to spend $500,000 plus maintenance to purchased a boat when the Coast Guard has a fleet of ships in Morro Bay and then the intelligent option of just manning the boat on its own power.

Our Public Safety Dept are becoming our Military Dept. and this is not helping our current and future unrest of these department of respect and need for the safety of the public law abiding citizens.

Yep. Just another very expensive toy. I wonder if they had to create a new county job description for the deputy who drives the boat?

Obviously using the nearby Coast Guard to tow in these abandoned panga boats is the best option. I’m also curious — if the sheriff’s office is so hot to get their own boat, why not simply keep the best panga boat that is abandoned? Every time they come across or confiscate a better one they could automatically upgrade.

I like to take this opportunity to congratulate our US Coast Guard for keep our Coast safe. Keep up the good work. Oh, I thought I saw an expired fire extinguisher on that commercial fishing boat.

So the sheriff didn’t use the high dollar Parkington’s navy boat to bring the panga in? Maybe they don’t really need it. Hmmm.


Or more likely they don’t have the required Towing Masters Certificate