Monday, November 30 , 2015, 2:07 am | Fair 44º

Eleven Arrested in Panga Bust Near Gaviota

Authorities seize some 3,000 pounds of marijuana in the latest smuggling incident

Authorities examine a panga boat and its contents near Gaviota on Wednesday. Eleven people were arrested and 3,000 pounds of marijuana were seized.
Authorities examine a panga boat and its contents near Gaviota on Wednesday. Eleven people were arrested and 3,000 pounds of marijuana were seized.  (Victoria Sanchez / KEYT News photo)

By Tom Bolton, Noozhawk Executive Editor | @tombol | updated logo 12:15 p.m. |

Eleven people were taken into custody and some 3,000 pounds of marijuana was seized early Wednesday after a panga boat was spotted near Gaviota, according to the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department.

Personnel from several law-enforcement agencies swarmed the Gaviota area at about 12:15 a.m. after a U.S. Coast Guard helicopter spotted the boat near San Nicholas Island, which was believed to be ferrying drugs from Mexico and headed toward the Gaviota Coast, said sheriff’s Lt. Butch Arnoldi.

An initial round-up netted eight people arrested by 2 a.m., Arnoldi said, including five from Southern California and three from Mexico.

Three more arrests occurred at about 8 a.m., but the nationalities of those suspects were not available.

The panga was found on the shoreline between the Gaviota campground and Hollister Ranch, Arnoldi said.

Sheriff’s deputies and officers from the California Highway Patrol and State Parks searched the coastline near Gaviota State Park and Hollister Ranch in the early-morning hours.

Several suspects were spotted on the shore, according to emergency radio traffic, and at least one was taken into custody with the help of a police canine. He suffered minor injuries and was treated by paramedics at the scene, according to radio traffic.

Homeland Security has taken the lead role in the case, Arnoldi said, and was expected to release more information later in the day. Border Patrol and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) also were involved in the operation.

Panga boats — small, open craft equipped with large engines — have been used increasingly to smuggle in drugs and people, and the Central Coast shoreline has become a popular landing area.

Check back with Noozhawk for updates to this story.

Noozhawk executive editor Tom Bolton can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

comments powered by Disqus

» on 12.12.12 @ 02:43 PM

“We are not at war with Eurasia..”
Wake up folks- we may not be at war with Mexican cartels, but they ARE at war with us and invading!

» on 12.12.12 @ 05:12 PM

That boat with only two 350hp engines costs about $100,000.
A pound of pot in the North Dakota oil fields costs about $4000 ($250/ounce).
3000 pounds of pot has a street value of $12million.
The smuggler probably gets less than $1million of that but he could lose nine boats and still be in the green if only one delivers the shipment.

What’s puzzling about this is why the smuggler would complicate and jeopardize his operation carrying so many people. The profit had to be as great for human cargo as pot for it to make any sense. Was he getting $100,000 per person? Doubtful. Sloppy smuggling more likely.

Amnesty in the air will increase the traffic in humans.
With the barrier to employment in the United States being only the border, amnesty won’t be the fix of anything but rather the incentive for more to enter.

Drugs are legal; all drugs are legal.
The 9th Amendment and an understanding of its history and purpose in the Constitution makes them so.
The 18th Amendent set the precedent for how a retained right can be legally prohibited. Simple legislated drug laws are insufficient and illegal because they are unConstitutional.
Erradication of the criminal enforcement of illegal laws would cause drug smuggling to disapppear almost instantaneously.

» on 12.13.12 @ 02:13 AM

They have no respect for American laws.

Thank the Democrats for the state turning into T.J Mexico..sad

» on 12.13.12 @ 03:46 AM

The Mexican smugglers are supplying a demand created by Americans that don’t respect the American laws.
And Americans are righteous not to respect those American laws because the laws are illegal because they’re unConstitutional.
It’s a good Citizen’s duty to disobey them.
All American law enforcement officers engaged in enforcement of drug laws should resign rather than commit the crime of enforcing unConstitutional laws.

» on 12.13.12 @ 12:36 PM

Woo Woo you ask why the smuggler would complicate things by slowing his boat down with so many people just for the extra money of getting a few illegals in the country?? Maybe the pot weighs allot and they don’t want two guys going back and forth carrying the stuff. How are they to meet up with people on shore when they never know where is a safe place to jump off at? Not sure but this could be the reason.

» on 12.13.12 @ 03:35 PM

WooWoo has been drinking the bong water again…

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made through PayPal below, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments.

Thank you for your vital support.


Daily Noozhawk

Subscribe to Noozhawk's A.M. Report, our free e-Bulletin sent out every day at 4:15 a.m. with Noozhawk's top stories, hand-picked by the editors.