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Drug Smuggling Growing In Santa Barbara and SLO Counties

By Ophelia Young, KEYT - KCOY - KKFX Reporter, ophelia.young@keyt.com
Published On: Apr 14 2014 07:34:38 PM CDT
Updated On: Apr 14 2014 07:50:30 PM CDT

Photo Courtesy: Capt Brian Cunningham

SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. -

A recent report from the California Attorney General Kamala Harris’ office says California is seeing a rise in transnational crime, and the Central Coast plays a role because we are the landing stage for more and more drug smuggling boats.

Transnational crime are ones that can be traced to gangs in other countries; they include cartels, human trafficking, weapons trafficking and internet attacks.
The report focuses on how these crimes have evolved, and boats are a new way to smuggle drugs.

The San Luis Obispo County Sheriff Ian Parkinson says there are a few reasons--tighter border security sends more smugglers to the waters and further north, GPS technology is readily available and there is less risk getting caught.

According to the report, drug seizures by the pound have increased about 30 times from 2008 to 2012.

Harris suggests some solutions, which is to creating a maritime task force with radar stations and sonar buoys on our waters.

Sheriff Parkinson says he's already started one, but needs federal funding to grow it.

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