H-CENTRAL COAST

Nov 27, 2012 8:31 PM by Cameron Polom, KSBY News

Another panga boat found in same area as last three

San Luis Obispo County Sheriff's deputies discovered a panga boat early this morning in the area of Piedras Blancas Lighthouse. That area is becoming synonomous with panga boats. This is the fourth to be found there in the last few months.

When deputies arrived, they saw five men near the boat. The men ran off, and after a short scuffle, one was taken into custody. Deputies caught up with another man and are still looking for the others.

About four miles north of Piedras Blancas Lighthouse, sheriff's deputies noticed an open gate leading to a remote beach area.

"When they arrived on site, they discovered five men in the field, the five men took off, the sheriff's deputies took off after them," says Tony Cipolla, public information officer for the San Luis Obispo County Sheriff's Office.

After a scuffle that left one deputy with minor injuries, two suspects were taken into custody.
Thats when deputies discovered the panga boat.

"No drugs were found at this time, but about thirty containers of fuel were found, we believe it may have been a supply boat that was helping out another panga boat," Cipolla said.

According to homeland security, that's not uncommon. Many times these types of boats will refuel at sea, and this may have been the vessel that brings that fuel to smugglers waiting for the right opportunity to come ashore.

Air support, K9 units and ground units were brought in from multiple agencies to search for the remaining men.

"This is becoming a real issue here on the Central Coast, the sheriff is very concerned about this because it impacts our resources at the sheriff's office and then you also have the criminal element," Cipolla said.

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