Tags: 4m | pot | on beach | california

$4M of Pot on Beach Is Fraction of California Coast Smuggling

Tuesday, 19 Mar 2013 02:31 PM

By Michael Mullins

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Approximately 2,000 pounds of marijuana was found on a California beach after a type of fishing boat often used for drug smuggling washed ashore.

Fifty plastic-wrapped bales of pot, with a total street value of $4 million, were hidden in nearby bushes.

The marijuana and the abandoned 30-foot panga boat with 20 fuel containers on board were seized by narcotics detectives from the Santa Barbara Sheriff's Office.

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Panga boats, which are inexpensive open vessels commonly found throughout Central America and the Caribbean, are often used for drug and people smuggling between Mexico and the United States.

Earlier in March, at least $1 million worth of marijuana was discovered near a similar boat that had been abandoned on the Vandenberg Air Force Base coastline in Southern California.

According to ABC News Los Angeles affiliate KABC, the evidence gathered from the Santa Barbara beach will be used in an ongoing a Homeland Security investigation into drug smuggling from Mexico.

Since this time last year, more than 20 drug smuggling boats have been intercepted off Santa Barbara County's coastline, according to investigators.

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In December, a U.S. Coast Guardsman was killed when his vessel was rammed by a panga- style vessel while investigating another boat believed to be involved in drug smuggling in Southern California.

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