A “panga” boat with nearly 3,000 pounds of marijuana on-board came ashore in Southern California over the weekend, federal officials said.
Thirteen people associated with the vessel were arrested and charged in a criminal complaint that alleges possession of cannabis with intent to distribute, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in L.A. said in a statement.
Feds said the U.S. Coast Guard spotted the boat Saturday at Arroyo Quemada Beach north of the city of Santa Barbara.
Suspects were allegedly unloading the boat, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said. Three people were in the vessel and as many as 15 were in vehicles on-shore, authorities said.
“Two vans and a pick-up truck separately drove to the beach, and bales of marijuana were loaded into the pick-up and one of the vans,” U.S. Attorney’s officials stated. “The vehicles then departed the beach at about the same time, but they went in separate directions. One van, which was being used to transport the marijuana, was stopped in
Camarillo; the second van, which was being used to transport people, was stopped when it returned to Arroyo Quemada Beach; and the pick-up, which was being used to transport marijuana, was stopped in Carpinteria.”
The van and pickup had 114 bales of pot, feds alleged.
The 13 suspects ultimately arrested could each face life behind bars if successfully convicted, prosecutors said.