Authorities found about 2,000 pounds of marijuana stashed with an abandoned panga boat near the Point Conception lighthouse Thursday morning and linked the incident to a man arrested on Monday.
Ranch employees found the beached boat on a secluded cove near Cojo Ranch.
Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department narcotics detectives responded to the scene to find the marijuana, which has an estimated street value of $4 million, according to sheriff’s spokeswoman Kelly Hoover.
The cove was inaccessible by vehicle, so a county helicopter helped take the marijuana off the beach and the Department of Homeland Security removed the boat, which will be transported to Long Beach and booked as evidence, Hoover said.
Deputies arrested Jesus Garcia-Guzman, 19, from Mexico, on Monday on burglary charges for allegedly entering Hollister Ranch structures, but further investigation linked him to maritime smuggling associated with the boat discovered Thursday, Hoover said.
Narcotics investigators rebooked him into the County Jail on drug trafficking charges with bail set at $100,000.
Local law enforcement agencies are working with Homeland Security on this and other local smuggling investigations involving the use of panga boats, Hoover said.