Coast Guard, CBP disrupts possible drug smuggling off Morro Bay

This poster, based on a submission to the Coast Guard Art Program, illustrates the 11th District Coast Guard's anti-smuggling and panga awareness campaign. (Graphics by Petty Officer 1st Class Adam Eggers)

This poster, based on a submission to the Coast Guard Art Program, illustrates the 11th District Coast Guard’s anti-smuggling and panga awareness campaign. (Graphics by Petty Officer 1st Class Adam Eggers)

ALAMEDA, Calif. — U.S. Coast Guard and U.S. Customs and Border Protection crews disrupted an apparent drug smuggling operation approximately 30 miles west of San Simeon earlier this week.

A suspicious panga-type vessel was spotted by the aircrew of a CBP aircraft on routine patrol in the area Tuesday night. A Coast Guard C-130 aircrew also patrolling the area observed the suspected smugglers jettisoning items into the water.

The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Pike intercepted the panga and took three people into custody. They were brought ashore by another Coast Guard boat and turned over to Homeland Security Investigators.

“Teamwork and vigilance are the keys to stopping illegal activity along our coastal border,” said Capt. Gregory Burg, chief of response operations for the 11th Coast Guard District. “I’m proud of the keen actions of the aviators and sailors who detected and intercepted this panga. Our crews, the maritime community and the public can all contribute to stopping the efforts of transnational criminal organizations behind illegal smuggling through vigilance and quick reporting of suspicious activity.”

The Coast Guard reminds all coastal residents, visitors and boaters to report any suspicious activity or objects discovered at sea or along the shore by calling 911 or the Coast Guard with a VHF-FM marine-band radio.

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