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Ventura County Sheriff's Office
Sunday September 15th, 2019 :: 02:22 p.m. PDT


Marijuana Smuggling Vessel

Nature of Incident: Marijuana Smuggling Vessel

Report Number: 19-144688

Location: Pacific Coast Highway @ Deer Creek Road, Ventura County

Date & Time: 9/14/2019 @ 6:15 AM

Unit(s) Responsible:
Ventura County Sheriff’s Office/ Camarillo Patrol Station
Ventura County Sheriff’s Office Narcotics Unit
U.S. Customs and Border Protection


(S)uspects, (V)ictims, (P)arty, (D)ecedent, City of Residence,Age
On September 14, 2019, Ventura County Sheriff’s Office patrol deputies and Narcotics Detectives responded to a beached vessel on Pacific Coast Highway (PCH) near Deer Creek Road and seized a large quantity of marijuana. 
On September 14, 2019, at approximately 6:15 AM, sheriff’s deputies were dispatched to the area of PCH and Deer Creek Road regarding a beached vessel.  Upon arrival, deputies discovered a beached vessel and quickly determined it was a narcotics smuggling vessel commonly referred to as panga boats.  The 35 foot panga boat was unoccupied and beached using a make shift wrought iron anchor. 
Narcotics Detectives with the Sheriff’s Office responded to the scene along with resident agents from U.S. Customs and Border Protection.  Personnel from Ventura County Fire Station 56 also arrived on scene and helped stabilize the panga while detectives and patrol deputies boarded the panga.  The United States Coast Guard responded and provided air support during the investigation.  During the search of the panga, deputies found 41 bales containing marijuana, which had a combined weight of 577 pounds. 
In addition to the marijuana, deputies located 37 large containers filled with approximately 605 gallons of gasoline.  The gas containers were located inside the panga, floating in the water and some were on the beach.  The large amount of gasoline is common among narcotics smuggling panga boats.  The U.S. Coast Guard assisted in the cleanup and disposal of the gas containers.  Detectives seized evidence on scene indicative of organized narcotics smuggling and the investigation is ongoing.        
Panga boats are outboard-powered fishing boats commonly used by sophisticated maritime narcotics smugglers to smuggle large quantities of narcotics from Mexico to the United States.  These Mexico based narcotics smugglers work closely with associates in the Unites States to transport their narcotics.  The Ventura County Sheriff’s Office is committed to aggressively target maritime narcotics trafficking by working closely with U.S. Customs and Border Protection Agents and U.S. Coast Guard to combat maritime narcotics trafficking affecting Ventura County.     
Prepared by: Detective Sergeant Eduardo Malagon 

News Release Date: 9/15/2019 

Media Follow-Up Contact:
Detective Sergeant Eduardo Malagon
[email protected]

Approved by:  Captain Bill Schierman
Booking Photo Release: 
YES     NO  

Ventura County Crime Stoppers will pay up to $1,000 reward for information, which leads to the arrest and criminal complaint against the person(s) responsible for this crime.  The caller may remain anonymous.  The call is not recorded.  Call Crime Stoppers at 800-222-TIPS (8477).

Ventura County Sheriff's Office
800 S Victoria Ave
Ventura, CA 93003

Emergency: 9-1-1
Non-emergencies: 805-654-9511

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