H-SANTA BARBARA COUNTY

Feb 2, 2012 12:13 PM by Jimena Martinez, KSBY News/Photo Courtesy: SB Co. Sheriff's Office

Panga boat found on the South Coast will be turned over to the federal government

The Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Office says it will turn over a panga boat found near Montecito to the federal government.

The 30-foot, abandoned boat was spotted near Fernald Point Wednesday morning. The sheriff's office says no one was found during a search of the shoreline, but a number of life vests were found suggesting at least 20 people had been onboard the boat at one point.

Panga boats are commonly used by fisherman in developing countries, however, they have recently been connected to drug smuggling operations on the South Coast. At this point, it is not clear if the boat found on Wednesday was used in a drug smuggling operation.

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