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Marijuana bales discovered near panga boat

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Marijuana bales discovered near panga boat


Alleged Panga Drug Smuggler Arrested

Authorities Seize Boat and 2,000 Pounds of Marijuana


Monday, May 6, 2013
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Three days after Santa Barbara Sheriff’s deputies arrested 19-year-old Jesus Garcia-Guzman for burglarizing a storage building on Hollister Ranch, narcotics detectives on May 2 found the 30-foot panga boat on which the Mexican national had reportedly arrived beached below the Point Conception Lighthouse. Stashed near the drug-smuggling vessel was 2,000 pounds of marijuana with an estimated street value of $4 million.

Sheriff’s spokesperson Kelly Hoover declined to elaborate on what alerted authorities to Garcia-Guzman’s alleged connection to the panga upon his arrest, explaining that the link was made even before the boat was found “based on evidence seized during the course of the investigation.” Garcia-Guzman is booked in County Jail on drug trafficking charges. His bail is set at $100,000.

Jesus Garcia-Guzman
Click to enlarge photo

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Jesus Garcia-Guzman

Because the panga boat and drugs were situated in a cove inaccessible by vehicle, a Santa Barbara Air Support Unit helicopter removed the marijuana bales. Homeland Security units transported the boat to Long Beach where it is being stored as evidence.

Homeland Security Special Agent David Wales said it’s likely the drug runners in the South Coast’s latest panga incident landed in the wrong area since there was no way to unload the cargo into waiting vehicles, the methodology usually employed by panga crews and their on-land counterparts. “Drop-offs are usually well choreographed,” he explained. He acknowledged, however, that the load of marijuana could have been stashed for pickup at a later time.

Mexico’s Sinaloa cartel is often behind the maritime smuggling activity off California’s coastline, said Wales. He said that while interdictions have declined, it’s not due to less illegal activity but because the cartel has started using less conspicuous recreational boats as opposed to pangas. While Homeland Security, the U.S. Coast Guard, and area law enforcement agencies continue to combat the smugglers, Wales said the problem persists. “This issue isn’t going to get better anytime soon,” he said.

He urged Santa Barbara residents to report any suspicious activity right away. “If you see something, say something,” he said.

Comments

Independent Discussion Guidelines

dude, are you breaking a story on a new panga.......or just getting around to writing up the last panga.

or did this pop up from an archived story.

lawdy (anonymous profile)
May 6, 2013 at 1:43 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Bootleggers used to drop off rum and whiskey on the beached of Montecito during prohibition. In fact, the great film artist Chuck Jones' father was one such bootlegger and Jones said it got his family thru the Depression. Most people won't take a risk like that unless they feel they must.

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
May 6, 2013 at 3:27 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Wow, this guy is really seasoned, you can tell he's been at it for a long time. This will clearly slow things down from here on out.

loonpt (anonymous profile)
May 6, 2013 at 7:34 p.m. (Suggest removal)

You mean to say the drug cartels have that much money they can afford recreational boats for smuggling? Wow! That's a novel idea. Hello?!!

Barron (anonymous profile)
May 8, 2013 at 4:23 p.m. (Suggest removal)

In regards to loonpt's comment, I doubt this one incident will "slow things down." This is just a slight hiccup in the operations. As long as there is demand, there will be dealers who find ways to either continue as before or figure out a new way to ship the drugs. In the more lucrative Cocaine market, cartels actually build submarines to transport their product. If Marijuana becomes profitable enough, they'll probably do the same thing.

805bailbonds (anonymous profile)
May 9, 2013 at 9:01 a.m. (Suggest removal)

I think the real demand for drugs comes from the drug warriors who'd have to get new jobs if it ended.

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
May 9, 2013 at 9:54 a.m. (Suggest removal)

805bailbonds, you make some good points, I was actually being sarcastic.

This looks like a young kid who got arrested, there are thousands waiting to line up behind him. This is an absolute waste of time.

They can't keep drugs out of prisons, and prisoners are locked in cages and have no rights. Think about that. Why anybody would then attempt the goal of ridding a so-called free society of 'illicit substances' and thinks that they can keep some vestige of that free society in tact is utterly mind boggling.

loonpt (anonymous profile)
May 10, 2013 at 5:14 p.m. (Suggest removal)

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