Feds intercept 3,000 pounds of marijuana
February 2, 2016
Federal authorities arrested 13 people Saturday after intercepting 3,000 pounds of marijuana the suspects were trying to smuggle into the United States by panga boat at a beach just north of the city of Santa Barbara.
Early Saturday morning, the United States Coast Guard first observed the panga boat at Arroyo Quemada Beach. Drug-traffickers commonly use panga boats at night in an effort to evade law enforcement, according to the affidavit.
Investigators believe that three people were in the boat, and approximately 15 people were observed on shore helping to unload the bales of marijuana. Two vans and a pick-up truck separately drove to the beach, and the suspects loaded the bales of marijuana into the pick-up and one of the vans.
The vehicles then departed the beach at about the same time, but headed in separate directions. Officers stopped the van transporting marijuana in Camarillo and the second van, which was being used to transport people, when it returned to Arroyo Quemada Beach. Officers stopped the pick-up in Carpinteria.
All 13 defendants were named in a criminal complaint filed Sunday that charges them with possession of marijuana with the intent to distribute. The statutory maximum penalty for a violation of possession nearly 3,000 pounds of marijuana with the intent to distribute is life in prison.
Authorities arrested the following individuals:
Hector Raul Bernal-Lara, 41;
Ricardo Sanchez-Marquez, 36;
Daniel Aguilar, 25;
Mark Garcia, 23;
Susana Tobaldo, 42;
Kevin Tes, 22;
Josh Rubio, 21;
Alfonso Aguilar-Ballestros, 48;
Jesus Moreno-Sepulveda, 31;
Santiago Galvan-Carrillo, 48;
Paul Armenta-Bueno, 34;
Bryan Castro, 18; and
Daniel Fernando-Huizar, 26.
The investigation in this case was conducted by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations, the United States Coast Guard, the United States Border Patrol, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department and the Ventura County Sheriff’s Department.