Source: Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office
An abandoned panga boat was discovered at approximately 12:30 p.m. today, May 19, 2017 on the shore about one mile north of Refugio State Beach off of Arroyo Quemada Lane. A citizen observed the suspected narcotic trafficking boat and notified the Sheriff’s Office. A Santa Barbara County Sheriff/Fire Air Support Unit helicopter flew the area and confirmed the boat was a panga. Personnel from the Sheriff’s Office, U.S. Coast Guard, California State Parks and Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) responded to the scene.
Investigators determined the illegal drug smuggling boat was about 30 feet long with two outboard motors and had one large container with approximately 90 gallons of fuel. Investigators searched the area and located five bales of marijuana located in the bushes near the roadway, but were not able to locate any suspects related to the panga.
Coast Guard officials are in the process of safely removing the fuel from the boat. HSI will take possession of the vessel and will conduct further investigation.