Abandoned Panga Boat Found Near Refugio Beach
Santa Barbara - February 22nd, 2012
At approximately 6:00am on Wednesday, February 22, 2012, employees of California State Parks alerted the Santa Barbara Sheriff’s Office that an abandoned panga boat had been discovered on the shore south of Refugio Beach.
Although there were no people or cargo found on the boat, there was evidence that the boat had been used to smuggle illicit drugs. The 30-foot panga boat has been turned over to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) which is the lead investigating agency.
Panga boats are small open watercraft powered by one or more outboard motors. They are commonly used by fishermen in developing countries and have become increasingly popular with smugglers who are transporting, illegal immigrants, narcotics, or other contraband from Mexico to the United States.
Although relatively small in size (typically 19-30 feet), panga boats are considered very sea worthy and have been known to make illegal runs from Mexico to as far north as the San Francisco Bay Area.
The Santa Barbara Sheriff’s Office is asking the public to be aware of the growing problem and to please contact law enforcement if they see any suspicious boats in the ocean off Santa Barbara County. They can also call the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) toll-free 24-hour tip line at 1-866-DHS-2ICE.
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please contact Drew Sugars, Public Information Officer.
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