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Panga Boat Bust 9/6

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New Times / News

The following article was posted on November 29th, 2012, in the New Times - Volume 27, Issue 18 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from New Times [newtimesslo.com] - Volume 27, Issue 18

Another panga hits Piedras Blancas

BY MATT FOUNTAIN

If the definition of insanity is doing the same thing repeatedly and expecting a different result, these suspected maritime narcotics smugglers might fit the bill. Or not.

At approximately 4:15 a.m. on Nov. 27, two San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s deputies discovered an open gate to a field north of the Piedras Blancas Lighthouse on the San Simeon coast off Highway 1. They then found a small fishing skiff—known as a panga, commonly used by drug and human traffickers—on the shore along with five men, according to a department press release.

The suspects fled on foot, but two were captured. A scuffle ensued, and one deputy received minor injuries in the incident. Both men are being held at the county jail, one on an immigration hold.

A subsequent search didn’t turn up any narcotics, but investigators did find roughly 30 containers of fuel floating in the water, and said the panga is “consistent with narcotics smuggling operations.”

The vessel was approximately 28 feet long with a single engine, and has been turned over to the U.S. Coast Guard, according to the release.

This is the third such incident in the area by the lighthouse since July, the last of which netted five arrests.