MALIBU—An abandoned 35 foot panga boat transporting 577 pounds of marijuana was discovered washed onto the coastal area of Pacific Coast Highway and Deer Creek Road on Saturday, September 14.
At approximately 6:20 a.m., Coast Guard Sector Los Angeles – Long Beach watchstander agents received a report of the abandoned vessel and dispatched a Coast Guard Air Station, San Francisco Mugu MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crew to conduct a search for possible people in the distress.
The Coast Guard Marine Safety Detachment from Santa Barbara arrived on the scene to assist with cleanup procedures removing the panga vessel from the shore. Final responders at PCH and Deer Creek Road included members of the Ventura County Sheriff’s Department, Ventura County Fire Department, U.S. Border Patrol and California State Park Lifeguards.
Upon arrival, deputies from the Ventura County Sheriff Department and Narcotics Detectives discovered the beached vessel was a narcotics smuggling panga boat. Personnel from Ventura County Fire Station 56 helped stabilize the panga, while detectives and patrol deputies searched the watercraft. Recovered at the scene were 41 bales of packed marijuana with a combined weight of 577 pounds. Over 605 pounds of gasoline stored in 37 large containers were also retrieved from the panga and surrounding waters.
Panga boats are most commonly seen throughout developing world countries including Central America, the Caribbean, parts of Africa, the Middle East, and much of Asia.
Detective Sergeant Eduardo Malagon of The Ventura County Sheriff’s Office spoke to Canyon News indicating that authorities are still actively looking into the vessel and working with the U.S. Customs and Border Protection to follow up on any new intelligence that develops.