Mar 18, 2013 2:06 AM by Kathrene Herndon, KSBY News

Sheriff's Office: Panga-style boat, around 2,000 pounds of marijuana found near Santa Barbara beach

The Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Office says a panga boat and approximately 2,000 pounds of marijuana was found north of Refugio State Beach early Sunday morning.

Sheriff's patrol personnel and Sheriff's Narcotics Investigators were called out to the area of Arroyo Quemada Beach where they say the 30-foot panga-style boat with more than 20 fuel containers onboard was found.

Officials say the evidence recovered, including 50 plastic-wrapped bales of marijuana found nearby, was consistent with marijuana smuggling activities.

The marijuana bales have an estimated street value of $4 million.

The Sheriff's Narcotics Investigation Unit, in conjunction with federal investigators from HSI, will continue to examine and process the seized evidence as part of an ongoing criminal investigation.

The immediate area was searched by a Sheriff's K9 unit, but no one was found.

Officials say over the last year, more than 20 panga-style boats have been found on the Santa Barbara coastline.

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