May 17, 2013 6:17 PM by Donna Winnick, KSBY News
A resident found a "Panga" Boat on Arroyo Quemada Beach, north of Refugio State Beach, around 8:15AM on May 17th. Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Office Patrol Deputies, along with Narcotics Investigators, responded and located the 35-foot boat on the beach.
Investigators found items of potential evidence inside and on the ground next to the boat, including clothing, fuel containers and other miscellaneous trash type items. Although no marijuana was discovered in the boat or surrounding area, plastic packaging commonly used for marijuana smuggling was found near the boat and heading up the path to the roadway.
Santa Barbara County Air Support Unit Copter 1 assisted with searching the surrounding area for suspects and evidence. Representatives from California State Parks, Homeland Security Investigations, California Highway Patrol and the U.S. Coast Guard also responded to the scene.
This is the second "Panga" discovered on Arroyo Quemada beach in recent months. The last one was found on March 17th along with more than 2,000 lbs. of marijuana wrapped in plastic bales concealed in bushes near the roadway.
The Sheriff's Office Special Investigations Bureau is working with Homeland Security to investigate the recent increase of "Panga Boat" activity in our area.
The Santa Barbara Sheriff's Office is asking the public to be aware of the ever-growing problem 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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