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Panga Boat Landing and Arrests
updated: Dec 12, 2012, 11:54 AM

Source: Santa Barbara Sheriff's Department

Gaviota Coast-At a little past midnight (00:15), the Santa Barbara County Emergency Communications Center was contacted by the United States Coast Guard and advised that they were tracking a Panga Boat between San Nicholas Island and the Santa Barbara coastline and it appeared that the boat was headed to the area between El Capitan State Beach and Gaviota State Beach. Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Office Personnel from all our Stations including the three Sheriff's Office Patrol Canines along with personnel from the California Highway Patrol, U.C.S.B. Police Department and State Parks responded and assisted personnel from the United States Coast Guard, United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HIS) and United States Customs and Border Protection - Border Patrol.

As several units reached the area of Hollister Ranch Road, a search of the coastline was conducted with the assistance of a Coast Guard helicopter that utilized lights to illuminate the coastline. Soon thereafter, at approximately 2:00 A.M. a total of eight (8) subjects were taken into custody after being found hiding in the brush. Five of the arrestees gave Southern California addresses and three advised that they were from Mexico.

As law enforcement personnel were checking the beach for additional suspects, the now unoccupied beached Panga Boat was located containing a large amount of packaged marijuana weighing approximately 3,000 pounds. All of the detained subjects, narcotics and evidence as well as any further investigation were turned over to HIS Special Agents.

This morning shortly before 8:00 A.M. (07:55) one of the Sheriff's Office Helicopters while conducting a search of the area for additional evidence and suspects located three additional suspects walking on the beach. The Helicopter landed and Sheriff's Deputies took three additional suspects into custody and held them until Sheriff's Patrol Deputies responded and transported them to a holding facility where they were released to Homeland Security Investigators.

Additional information may be released by Virginia Kice, Western Regional Communications Director/Spokesperson, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), (949) 360-3096.

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Breaking news this Wednesday morning, numerous law enforcement agencies are looking for suspects after a panga boat was found off our coast. (12/13/12)
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