A 35-foot panga vessel containing 25 bales of marijuana was found abandoned in Malibu on Saturday.
Initially called in to the Ventura County Sheriff’s Department, watchstanders from the U.S. Coast Guard responded to a report of the abandoned panga vessel at approximately 6:20 a.m. on Saturday, located along Pacific Coast Highway near Deer Creek Road.
“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,” a report published by the Ventura County Sheriff’s Department stated.
The Coast Guard Marine Safety Detachment in Santa Barbara, Ventura County Sheriff’s Department, Ventura County Fire Department, U.S. Border Patrol and California State Park Lifeguards responded to the report and arrived on scene to remove the panga vessel from the beach.
In addition, sheriff’s officials reported, 37 plastic barrels containing about 605 gallons of gasoline were found nearby.
The Coast Guard Air Station San Francisco Forward Operating Base Mugu MH-65 Dolphin sent a helicopter crew to conduct a search for people in distress.
Information supplied by the Ventura County Sheriff’s Department included the following:
“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 United States to transport their narcotics.”