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Drug smuggling boat found on coastline

By Claire Scholl, NewsChannel 3 Assignment Editor, assignmentdesk@keyt.com
Published On: May 02 2013 09:20:02 PM CDT
Updated On: May 02 2013 09:23:05 PM CDT
Panga Boat and about 2,000 lbs. of Marijuana Found
SANTA BARBARA COUNTY, Calif. -

A smuggling boat was found at 9:45 a.m. Thursday near Cojo Ranch. Santa Barbara County Sheriff released the following information:

At around 9:45 a.m. this morning, local ranch employees discovered a beached boat within a secluded cove on the Cojo Ranch, below the Point Conception Light House. 

Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Narcotics Detectives responded to the scene and found an abandoned 30 foot Panga boat.  

Detectives found approximately 2,000 pounds of marijuana stashed at the base of a nearby cliff, adjacent to the boat.  The marijuana has an estimated street value of approximately 4 million dollars.

On Monday, April 29th, Sheriff’s Deputies arrested 19-year-old Jesus Garcia-Guzman from Mexico, on burglary charges for entering structures on Hollister Ranch late Monday evening. 

At the time of his initial arrest, it was suspected that Garcia-Guzman was involved in Marijuana trafficking via Panga Boat activity.  Further investigation revealed that Garcia-Guzman was involved in maritime smuggling of marijuana associated with the Panga Boat discovered at Cojo Ranch this morning. 

This afternoon, Narcotics Investigators re-booked Garcia-Guzman on drug trafficking charges. 

He is in the Santa Barbara County Jail and his bail was set at 100,000 dollars.  Sheriff’s Narcotics investigators are working closely with Homeland Security Investigations on this current smuggling investigation, as well as with the overall problem of drugs and human trafficking via Panga boats operating in our coastal waters.

Because the cove where the boat and marijuana was found was inaccessible by vehicle, Santa Barbara Air Support Unit Copter 2 assisted in removing the marijuana from the beach. 

Homeland Security assisted in removing the vessel, which will be transported to Long Beach and booked as evidence.

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