H-CENTRAL COAST

May 24, 2012 7:31 PM by Courtney Meznarich, KSBY News

Panga boat found beached near San Simeon

Investigators worked a good portion of the day to remove fuel and marijuana from a panga boat discovered in San Luis Obispo County.

Fish and Game wardens discovered the 35-foot boat about two miles north of Piedras Blancas near San Simeon. The boat was loaded with 55-gallon drums of fuel and around 20 one-hundred-pound bales of marijuana, according to the San Luis Obispo County Sheriff's Department.

A CHP helicopter helped remove the fuel while sheriff's deputies used ATVs to move the drugs from the boat.

It's not clear how many people were on the boat when it was beached, but deputies did find footprints in the sand. The sheriff's department also does not know why the boat was beached, but a spokesperson says it could have something to do with the high winds. The boat is in a remote location and will take some engineering to remove, so deputies hope to pull the boat from the beach late Thursday or Friday morning.

The boat had two outboard motors, a sheriff's department spokesperson says. Authorities say panga boats are often used to transport drugs because they can maneuver quickly. They've turned up all along the California coast, but this is the first time in recent history a panga boat has been discovered in San Luis Obispo County, according to the sheriff's department.

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