Residents along San Diego north county beaches awoke this morning to a flurry of law enforcement and helicopters tracking a panga boat containing $4 million worth of marijuana. Border Patrol agents intercepted a maritime smuggling attempt at a Carlsbad beach and confiscated nearly 3,000 pounds of marijuana.
Border Patrol agents working along the California coastline spotted the panga boat and observed three men exit onto the beach. “When agents approached the panga, the three men jumped into the water and attempted to flee. Two of the men subsequently swam to shore and were arrested,” according to Mary Beth Caston, a communication officer for Border Patrol.
Once Border Patrol agents boarded the vessel they discovered 108 bundles of marijuana weighing 2,938 pounds worth an estimated street value of $4,407,000.
“This recent seizure is another example of how strategic partnerships amongst California law enforcement agencies are able to address various schemes of illegal activity, including maritime smuggling along the California coast,” Border Patrol San Diego Sector Chief Patrol Agent Paul Beeson stated. “This multi-agency effort prevented the suspects from furthering their criminal intent to distribute almost 3,000 pounds of narcotics here in the U.S.”
Two male Mexican nationals were immediately arrested and taken to a local hospital for medical treatment. They were subsequently released from the hospital into the custody of Border Patrol. The panga boat, $4.5 million worth of marijuana, and two suspects have been turned over to maritime task-force agents for further investigation.
The third suspect remains at large and the multi-task force consisting of U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the Office of Air and Marine, the U.S. Coast Guard, San Diego County Lifeguards, the San Diego County Sherriff’s Department, and the Carlsbad Police Department have deployed assets to search for the suspected drug smuggler.
Residents along the coastline are encouraged to report and suspicious activity to the San Diego Sector Border Patrol dispatch at 619-498-9900.
© Copyright 2013 Kimberly Dvorak All Rights Reserved.