Beached Panga Boat – Marijuana Smuggling Vessel

Ventura County Sheriff – Incident Press Release

On September 14, 2019, Ventura County Sheriff’s Office patrol deputies and Narcotics Detectives responded to a beached vessel on Pacific Coast Highway (PCH) near Deer Creek Road and seized a large quantity of marijuana.

On September 14, 2019, at approximately 6:15 AM, sheriff’s deputies were dispatched to the area of PCH and Deer Creek Road regarding a beached vessel. Upon arrival, deputies discovered a beached vessel and quickly determined it was a narcotics smuggling vessel commonly referred to as panga boats. The 35 foot panga boat was unoccupied and beached using a make shift wrought iron anchor.

Narcotics Detectives with the Sheriff’s Office responded to the scene along with resident agents from U.S. Customs and Border Protection. Personnel from Ventura County Fire Station 56 also arrived on scene and helped stabilize the panga while detectives and patrol deputies boarded the panga. The United States Coast Guard responded and provided air support during the investigation. During the search of the panga, deputies found 41 bales containing marijuana, which had a combined weight of 577 pounds.

In addition to the marijuana, deputies located 37 large containers filled with approximately 605 gallons of gasoline. The gas containers were located inside the panga, floating in the water and some were on the beach. The large amount of gasoline is common among narcotics smuggling panga boats. The U.S. Coast Guard assisted in the cleanup and disposal of the gas containers. Detectives seized evidence on scene indicative of organized narcotics smuggling and the investigation is ongoing.

Panga boats are outboard-powered fishing boats commonly used by sophisticated maritime narcotics smugglers to smuggle large quantities of narcotics from Mexico to the United States. These Mexico based narcotics smugglers work closely with associates in the Unites States to transport their narcotics. The Ventura County Sheriff’s Office is committed to aggressively target maritime narcotics trafficking by working closely with U.S. Customs and Border Protection Agents and U.S. Coast Guard to combat maritime narcotics trafficking affecting Ventura County.

Beached Panga Boat

Seized Marijuana


Photos: Ventura County Sheriff

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