Coast Guard interdicts 2 pangas, 12,000 pounds of marijuana

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SAN DIEGO — U.S. Coast Guard crews intercepted two panga boats and an estimated 12,000 pounds of marijuana approximately 180 miles southwest of San Diego, Tuesday night.

Four suspects were taken into custody and brought to San Diego for prosecution.

A panga boat loaded with an estimated 12,000 pounds of marijuana aboard floats approximately 180 miles southwest of San Diego after being seized by the Coast Guard, July 29, 2014. Coast Guard Cutters Stratton, Petrel and Haddock apprehended four suspects and seized two panga boats in addition to the marijuana. (Photo by U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Stratton)

A panga boat loaded with an estimated 12,000 pounds of marijuana aboard floats approximately 180 miles southwest of San Diego after being seized by the Coast Guard, July 29, 2014. Photo by U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Stratton

While on patrol, a C-130 Hercules aircraft from Coast Guard Air Station Sacramento detected the pangas. Coast Guard Cutters Stratton, Haddock and Petrel were diverted to intercept the suspected smugglers.

When the cutters arrived on scene, the four suspects fled aboard one of the pangas, abandoning the second. After a brief pursuit, the Coast Guard crews detained the suspects and seized the panga they were aboard.

An additional law enforcement team from the Stratton discovered 491 bales of marijuana aboard the panga that was left behind when the suspects attempted to flee.

The Petrel and Haddock’s crews transported the seized pangas and suspects to San Diego.

The bales of marijuana were transported to San Diego by the Stratton and turned over to the interagency Marine Task Force Friday morning.

The Coast Guard and the Marine Task Force are part of the San Diego Regional Coordinating Mechanism (ReCoM). The ReCoM is comprised of the U.S. Coast Guard, CBP’s Office of Air and Marine, Office of Field Operations, U.S. Border Patrol, Immigration and Customs Enforcement Homeland Security Investigations and state and local law enforcement partners operating in Southern California. The ReCoM coordinates planning and operations to target the threat of transnational crime along the coastal border.

Click the photo for more from the case.


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