H-CENTRAL COAST

May 29, 2013 9:15 PM by Keli Moore, KSBY News

What happens to a panga boat after it's seized?

California's beaches are no stranger to panga boats.

On Wednesday, 14 people suspected of using a panga boat to smuggle marijuana into the country, were arrested and taken to San Luis Obispo County Jail. The boat was found early Wednesday morning on a remote beach at Montana De Oro State Park.

Now that the suspects are behind bars, what happens to the panga boat?

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security said it hired a company to remove the boat from the beach, most likely a tug boat. After it's taken out on the water, the boat will most likely be towed to Long Beach, where it's then stored in a warehouse with other seized items.

"Usually they are held as evidence during the criminal proceedings, where they are held until they are forfeited and ultimately destroyed," said David Whales, Assistant Special Agent in Charge for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

But if a panga is in good condition, the boat will be auctioned off to try and offset the cost, explained Whales.

Officials said the removal, transportation and storage of a panga can cost thousands of dollars.

As far as the drugs seized, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security said they will be destroyed.

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