Yet another panga boat that likely held thousands of pounds of Mexican-grown marijuana was discovered on Santa Barbara’s shoreline.
This time, an area resident at around 8:15 a.m. Friday found a 35-foot panga on Arroyo Quemada Beach, which is north of Refugio State Beach. Although no marijuana was recovered and no arrests were made, Sheriff’s deputies found clothing, fuel containers, and other miscellaneous trash items near the boat as well as plastic packaging commonly used for marijuana smuggling.
A county Air Support helicopter searched the surrounding area, and personnel with California State Parks, Homeland Security Investigations, California Highway Patrol, and the U.S. Coast Guard combed the scene but found no suspects.
Sheriff’s Department spokesperson Kelly Hoover noted this is the second panga found on Arroyo Quemada in recent months. On March 17, one was discovered near 2,000 pounds of marijuana wrapped in plastic bales stashed in bushes.
Hoover said the investigation into this latest panga incident is ongoing. “The Santa Barbara Sheriff’s Office is asking the public to be aware of the ever-growing problem,” Hoover said in a prepared statement, “and to please contact Law Enforcement immediately if they see any suspicious boats in the ocean off Santa Barbara County or any suspicious activity on Highway 101 where there is coastal/beach access.