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Abandoned panga recovered on Arroyo Quemada Beach

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Abandoned panga recovered on Arroyo Quemada Beach


Panga Found on Arroyo Quemada Beach

Likely Held Marijuana; No Drugs Seized or Suspects Arrested


Friday, May 17, 2013
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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.

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What a ridiculous story - this is obviously nothing more than a photo op to justify increased funding for all the agencies who had "representatives" involved in the so called investigation.

With absolutely no evidence other than a few bits of plastic and tape, the SBCSO put out as fact that this panga was carrying "2,500 Lbs. of marijuana worth $5 million - I had a long discussion with what were obviously LEOs or some other interested parties over on edhat.com - their pathetic attempts to prop up this half-baked narrative are hilarious!

Nobody is coming from Mexico in motorized row boats! This is (for the most part) an obvious attempt to get more funding for the SBCSO, because it just NEVER has enough money for shiny new toys like helicopters and inflatable "first responder" boats.

spiritwalker (anonymous profile)
May 19, 2013 at 1:16 a.m. (Suggest removal)

So you're saying it's like "Capricorn One"

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vurL4v...

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
May 19, 2013 at 1:44 a.m. (Suggest removal)

That's exactly what I'm saying! Let me ask you this: Do you think that the last "found" panga story was believable? That some so called "pangero", after risking his life to bring 2,000 Lbs. of illegal drugs by sea, would simply abandon the boat in plain view right next to his cache of weed, just so he could randomly burglarize some buildings at Cojo? To what purpose?

The whole idea that the "cartels" only discovered in last the 2 years that it's possible to navigate a motorized rowboat up the west coast, is utterly preposterous!

spiritwalker (anonymous profile)
May 19, 2013 at 7:19 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Hey spiritwalker, maybe it's aliens. Seriously dude, have you even seen one of these panga boats up close? They are 15 to 20 feet long and have at least 4 feet off freeboard. They are very seaworthy and not even close to being "rowboats." Paranoia at your level is a serious disease, you need help.

Eckermann (anonymous profile)
May 19, 2013 at 10:09 a.m. (Suggest removal)

With a hand-held GPS + sea-sickness patch, steering a Panga 200 miles up the coast should be do-able.

Throw in a cheap pre-paid cell phone and it would be easy to meet your transport contact on shore.

If I were an adventurous journalist, I'd do the route myself and write a story about it.

EastBeach (anonymous profile)
May 19, 2013 at 11:48 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Is that a Home Depot bucket in the photo?

EastBeach (anonymous profile)
May 19, 2013 at 11:54 a.m. (Suggest removal)

An adventurous reporter, now that would be a newsworthy find.

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
May 19, 2013 at 12:24 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I nominate our own salty sea dog, Nick Welsh.

Hardest part would be keeping the Panga on a heading in the darkness.

If the smugglers are smart, they would pre-program a proven route into the GPS and have their runner follow it. The GPS tells you when you're off-route.

EastBeach (anonymous profile)
May 19, 2013 at 1:22 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I don't think we should risk an endangered species like Welsh.

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
May 19, 2013 at 2:28 p.m. (Suggest removal)

More Americans believe in Bigfoot than believe someone found smoking marijuana or in possession of a small amount of marijuana should be sent to jail, a new poll reports.

Just six percent of Americans want jail time for minor pot offenses, according to a new poll of 1,003 adults conducted by Princeton Survey Research Associates May 9 to 13, and paid for by libertarian media company Reason and Rupe. http://blog.sfgate.com/smellthetruth/...

Spiritwalker correctly named the game. It's not only obvious that these are PR stunts aimed at increasing LE's budget, it's also obvious that LE costs have a negative effect on the community and on public safety that's resulted from budget cuts in education and in programs serving the elderly, disabled, and mentally ill to fund LE piggies. It's amazing that the US incarcerates 716 people per hundred thousand and India 30 per 100,000 and that LE is constantly lobbying to increase its budget as crime rates decrease and the economy tanks.
Hollister Ranch shoreboats were offloading significant amounts of cocaine in the 70's.

14noscams (anonymous profile)
May 19, 2013 at 6:16 p.m. (Suggest removal)

But think of all the money the private/prison-industrial complex will lose. You can only lie so long before people see the truth and demand change.
I don't know if this panga incident is real or fabricated but the public has been lied to for so long, so often and on so many topics you can't really criticize people for being skeptical or cynical.

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
May 19, 2013 at 6:34 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I agree that the stupid war on drugs has actually made it worse by driving up the price and making the illegal drug trade more attractive to ner' do wells and violent jerks. However, anyone who holds the notion that law enforcement officers are piloting panga boats up the coast in some kind of vast conspiracy to increase their budgets, is either crazy, stupid, or has been taking too many drugs that have warped his or her mind. Finally, let us not forget that it is the demand side of this economic equation that driving the illegal drug trade. If the demand was not there, the supply would dwindle to nothing. However, like alcohol back in the 20s, it does not appear that the demand is going to go away anytime soon, so we should probably look at changing policies and treating meth heads, junkies, and motivationless pot heads like public health problems rather than criminals.

Eckermann (anonymous profile)
May 19, 2013 at 11:21 p.m. (Suggest removal)

The only people who are crazy or stupid (or just completely lacking in critical thinking skills) are those who somehow believe that this anything BUT just another government lie.

How do I KNOW WITH ABSOLUTE CERTAINTY THAT THIS IS, IN FACT, AN OBVIOUS LIE? Because the one agency with undisputed jurisdiction in drug smuggling cases, the US Drug Enforcement Agency is NOWHERE TO BE SEEN!

Get it? A whole laundry list of supposed "enforcement" agencies are involved in stamping the "scourge" of panga "smuggling", but the premiere federal drug "enforcement" agency wants nothing to do with this - why? Because even the dolts at the DEA could see how stupid this whole panga charade REALLY is, that's why!

spiritwalker (anonymous profile)
May 20, 2013 at 8:25 a.m. (Suggest removal)

I have to agree with spiritwalker that it seems weird to go through all that, only to leave the boat in plain view and the pot hiding nearby. We all know the war on pot is full of hipocrisy and lies. So spiritwalker might be paranoid, but rightfully so. That, and I love a conspiracy theory.

hikindude (anonymous profile)
May 20, 2013 at 8:35 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Actually spiritwalker, I kind of like this story. I'm tired of hearing about tyrannical government officials in dark costumes capturing innocent tradesmen who are simply using peaceful means to get around tyrannical laws.

Chalk one up for the good guys!

loonpt (anonymous profile)
May 20, 2013 at 9:08 a.m. (Suggest removal)

I am going to give this wacky string one last infusion of logic. As Occam observed, the most simple explanation is most likely the correct one. As Napoleon is supposed to have observered, "Never attribute to malice that which can adequately be explained by incompetence." Too many people would have to be involved in a panga boat conspiracy to have it remain secret for long, so that explanation is much to complicated. As far as the idiots landing on inaccessible beaches and abandoning the weed, well that business does not attract the brightest bulbs. They just screwed up and ran in panic. Please people use logic and reason, emotional modes of thinking almost never produce the correct answers.

Eckermann (anonymous profile)
May 20, 2013 at 9:34 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Oh puhhleeez! Too many people would have to be involved in a silly little conspiracy like this to keep it quiet? What cave have you been hiding in? Can you say Iraqi WMDs? How about the fact that US intelligence agencies have stated unequivocally for years that Iran is NOT building an atom bomb, and yet, we're still led to believe that Iran is just "months" away from completing one?

If you really want to know how the government shuts whistle blowers down, google "Sibel Edmunds" - she's been trying to tell the American people about widespread corruption at the highest levels of government for years, to no avail.

(BTW, is what you do really supposed to pass for logic? Looks a lot more like obfuscation to me.)

spiritwalker (anonymous profile)
May 20, 2013 at 11:06 a.m. (Suggest removal)

the DEA are taking a well earned rest after using their full force and fury to exterminate the handful of medical mj shopfronts in Santa Barbara.

besides, the logistics of having a network tv crew standing by prior to a DEA bust in Refugio must be a nightmare.

lawdy (anonymous profile)
May 20, 2013 at noon (Suggest removal)

Likely Held Marijuana; No Drugs Seized or Suspects Arrested

Best line of the story. Chalk one up for the good guys, indeed.

3domfighter (anonymous profile)
May 20, 2013 at 4:22 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I really admire the spirit that it must take keep to keep flogging this panga story - talk about a dead horse, there are so many holes in this narrative you could make a screen door out of it! Maybe if you LEOs would just tell me where exactly you're going with this whole "we need more security at the beach" meme, I might show you a teensy bit of mercy.

But until then I'm going to keep pointing out inconvenient facts like: California is awash in medical marijuana and THE DEMAND FOR MEXICAN MARIJUANA HAS NEVER BEEN LOWER! And there has been NO documented increase in marijuana interdiction @ the southern (or evn the northern) border that would account for the sudden wave of "found" pangas (else we would've definitely seen it all over the news - which brings up the interesting fact that none of these found pangas ever seems to make the national news - why? Because the US Coast Guard is not about to let itself be raked over the coals just so our Sheriff can scam enough money to buy his own little navy, that's why.)

(And BTW, "Chalk one up for the good guys"? what the hell is that supposed to mean? What exactly did the "good guys" do, besides put out their pathetic little bit of propaganda? I mean really, do you guys ever listen to yourselves?)

spiritwalker (anonymous profile)
May 20, 2013 at 5:54 p.m. (Suggest removal)

so the smuggling is the human beings?

DrDan (anonymous profile)
May 20, 2013 at 7:52 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Whoever you are Spiritwalker, you are a piece of work. First of all the Iraq WMD fiasco was not a conspiracy, it was a con job. Those who were paying attention, knew that there were never any WMDs and we all now know that fact, therefore there was never any secret conspiracy. We will all know when Iran is close to developing a nuclear weapon because at that point Israel will destroy the facility producing it. If you think that pot is the only thing coming up from Mexico on panga boats, you are not listening. Plenty of immigrants have arrived by that method and most of meth in this Country comes from Mexico and a lot of it comes by panga. Finally, I have not heard anyone suggest that we need added security on our beaches. Considering the vastness of the Southern California coastline, that would be a fool's errand and a waste of money. The panga's are what they are: a wild crap shoot that when successful pays off big but which has a high chance of failure because of many natural and human factors. On the other hand Spiritwalker, have you thought that maybe aliens from outer space are sneaking into the USA via panga? Maybe the government is covering that up.

Eckermann (anonymous profile)
May 20, 2013 at 7:56 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Eckerman: Whoever you are you need to stop drinking koolaid laced with LSD - there have never been any real panga incursions, you're hallucinating!

And if you insist that you've ingested no drugs, you're either insane or a simpleton - the Iraqi WMD "con job" was ABSOLUTELY a conspiracy - the US intel community made quite clear to Bush, Cheney et al that there was NO evidence to support an invasion, so the neocons ordered evidence fabricated - preemptive war is against international law, therefor fabricating evidence in support of such a war IS in fact a conspiracy!

As for Israel destroying "Iran's bomb program", if those cowards had any intention of actually attacking Iran they'd have done it 20 years ago, which is exactly how long Israel has been crying wolf about the supposed Iranian bomb - get a clue! There is NO Iranian bomb program - Israel has imperial ambitions and wants America's sons and daughters to die in their war for more real estate. End of story!

And finally, except for ONE extremely suspect story about a panga that supposedly had 25 passengers, there is absolutely NO evidence that illegal immigrants either have been or are currently being brought by panga - think about it, most Mexicans probably don't even know how to tread water but according to you they're getting into what amounts to an open row boat with a motor, and then going 50 or 100 miles out into the open Pacific in the dark of night? You must be high! A hike through the Arizona desert would be a cake walk by comparison, and anyone with more than a double digit IQ should be able to figure that out.

PS: Regarding the government's motivation for the whole panga hustle - other than that it's obviously designed to funnel more tax dollars to state and local LE agencies, it really makes no difference exactly what the eventual "solution" turns out to be, there is NO problem, so whatever is done, it WILL be nothing but waste!

spiritwalker (anonymous profile)
May 20, 2013 at 11:04 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Geo. Tenet and a few in the so-called intelligence community DID waffle and give Bush and that fool Colin Powell a few tidbits/lies which they used to "con" the American people and lead us into that disastrous war. This is quibbling on the term "conspiracy" -- but we the People were certainly WORKED.
You're so sure of yourself, spiritwalker: there certainly IS an Iranian bomb program, wake up. Yes, Israel is imperialistic and will not give up it's stolen West Bank territories.
You are incorrect, spiritwalker (check your facts) about pangas: they are very seaworthy and exceptional boats, NOT "open row boats". End of story!

DrDan (anonymous profile)
May 21, 2013 at 6:20 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Oh, somebody wants to try and argue fact with little ol' me?

Well, if so, you better get some facts - like I 've already said, ALL US intelligence agencies have stated UNEQUIVICALLY for years that if the Iranians ever were building a bomb, they certainly abandoned the effort long ago.

The Iranians aren't enriching uranium to anywhere near the level needed to build a bomb, so wake up and stop drinking the koolaid! (Israeli propaganda!)

spiritwalker (anonymous profile)
May 21, 2013 at 7:40 a.m. (Suggest removal)

blah blah blah, spirit stalker.....useless commenting back to you...UNEQUIVICALLY [sic], and learn to spell while you lecture all and sundry

DrDan (anonymous profile)
May 21, 2013 at 8:37 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Oh, my! I misspelled a word? Is that all you've got? (I got a D in comp/grammar in high school - don't know what the hell a dangling participle is either, so you can get me on grammer an syntacks two okay?)

spiritwalker (anonymous profile)
May 21, 2013 at 10:36 a.m. (Suggest removal)

So Spiritwalker, you got a D in the easiest subject in school? That explains a lot.

Eckermann (anonymous profile)
May 21, 2013 at 12:38 p.m. (Suggest removal)

What difference does it make whether or not I even passed? The elephant in the room is that I'm having a conversation with someone who refuses to address valid points, and instead chooses to fixate on superfluous issues like misspelled words and my high school grades.

Let's face it, you've got nothing!

spiritwalker (anonymous profile)
May 21, 2013 at 3:03 p.m. (Suggest removal)

you brought up your high school grades, walker, try rereading your own posts.

DrDan (anonymous profile)
May 21, 2013 at 5:24 p.m. (Suggest removal)

All I have is facts. Fact #1: Abandoned panga boats continue to show up on the Gaviota Coast. Fact #2: Nearby several of these panga boats there were found large amounts of pot. Fact #3: Mexican nationals who have arrived on our shores in panga boats have been apprehended by the authorities. Fact #4: Panga boats are a common form of seafaring in Mexico and other underdeveloped countries and are known to be very sea-worthy. Fact #5: There is evidence on the pangas captured of adequate fuel supplies to navigate a panga boat from Mexico to the Gaviota Coast. Fact #6: There is a market for Mexican produced drugs in the USA and there is also a market to smuggle immigrants into the USA from Mexico. My next statement is not a fact. However, I believe it to be highly unlikely that Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Department could conspire to plant panga boats on the Gaviota Coast without somebody spilling the beans. After all, not even CIA agents and SEAL Team 6 members are able to keep their mouths shut.

Eckermann (anonymous profile)
May 21, 2013 at 8:02 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I don't buy a set up because no patsies were shot.

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
May 21, 2013 at 8:16 p.m. (Suggest removal)

First of all, my grades came into this because someone chose to make an issue of a misspelled word - I suspected that that sort of mentality would latch onto something as irrelevant as my grades and have been proven right.

As to all of Eckermans so called facts, NONE of them can explain how all of a sudden in 2011, after absolutely no documented cases of pangas landing on the central and south coasts in recorded history, we supposedly had 200 incidents involving pangas - there is NO documented increase in drug interdiction at the US/Mexican border that would account for this panga invasion - therefor it IS an obvious fabrication!

All of Eckerman's assertions about the marketability of Mexican weed, the necessary amount of fuel, blah, blah, blah, are nothing more than conjecture - he has no idea how much fuel such a trip would take, or whether he could even GIVE Mexican marijuana away. (BTW, the few people I know who smoke weed would pay nothing for Mexican because "it's crap!"

As to the naïve assertion that the SBSO couldn't keep a secret, clearly Eckerman has no clue about the 'thin blue line' or the 'code of silence' the police abide by - and besides who says the Sheriff is actively involved in planting the pangas? It's much more likely that a useless organization like Homeland Security "Special Investigations" is responsible for planting the so called evidence.

Regarding all the Mexican nationals supposedly apprehended after arriving on pangas, where are they? They're nowhere to be seen, and except for a single case (that appears to be a complete fabrication), there is NO record of anyone being convicted for crimes involving pangas.

As to the Coast Guard petty officer that was supposedly killed by a panga - the entire story is preposterous from start to finish. The US Coast Guard's procedure for stopping a fleeing craft is well known: 2 or 3 bursts of machine gun fire across the bow, if the boat continues to flee, rounds are fired into its engines until they are disabled.

Instead of following that well established procedure, we're supposed believe that after being fired at with an M60 machine gun, the panga captain "gunned" his boat 20 feet forward (while the machine gun was still aimed it him!) and knocked two Coast Guardsmen out of their boat! This ridiculous story isn't at all believable - that panga and its occupants would've been riddled with gunfire before they even moved 10 feet! Whatever may or may not have happened, the official story is BS!

And finally, my only interest in this story is the truth, and the truth is that we already spend FAR MORE on "homeland security" than is necessary - and as far as I'm concerned, anyone who argues to the contrary is either delusional, or else directly involved in LE or as paid sock puppets to support this nonsense! (And based on the way you 2 nitpick my spelling and school grades, "sock puppet" is being kind.)

spiritwalker (anonymous profile)
May 22, 2013 at 6:11 a.m. (Suggest removal)

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