Ten people are in custody following the predawn interdiction Wednesday of a Mexican “panga” boat loaded with more than a ton of marijuana along the Ventura County coast north of Los Angeles.
California National Guardsmen initially spotted the vessel offshore and relayed the information to the U.S. Border Patrol. Border Patrol agents responded to the beach near Deer Creek road shortly after 2 a.m. There they discovered the 27-foot boat along with numerous bales of marijuana totaling approximately 2,500 pounds. In addition to the marijuana, authorities also seized two vehicles located in the landing area believed to be linked to the smuggling scheme.
According to agents at the scene, four of those taken into custody arrived on board the boat. The remaining arrestees were found in the landing area. The ongoing probe is being spearheaded by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).
In response to the escalating number of maritime smuggling incidents in the Los Angeles area, authorities have intensified efforts to target the illegal activity, expanding the use of marine patrols, land-based surveillance and collaboration with the Government of Mexico.