Coast Guard interdicts drug panga, seizes 7,600 pounds of marijuana

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SAN DIEGO — U.S. Coast Guard crews based in San Diego and Sacramento worked together to intercept a drug-laden panga boat approximately 160 miles southwest of San Diego early Friday morning.

A U.S. Coast Guard crew member unloads a bale of marijuana from a panga boat that was seized 160 miles southwest of San Diego June 28, 2014. The Coast Guard detained three suspects and seized approximately 7,600 pounds of marijuana. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Henry G. Dunphy)

A U.S. Coast Guard crew member unloads a bale of marijuana from a panga boat that was seized 160 miles southwest of San Diego June 28, 2014. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Henry G. Dunphy

Three suspects were detained and brought to San Diego for prosecution, along with the panga and 257 bales of marijuana weighing approximately 7,600 pounds.

While on routine patrol, a C-130 Hercules aircraft crew from Coast Guard Air Station Sacramento spotted the suspicious panga and Coast Guard Cutter Edisto was diverted to intercept it.

Once on scene, the Edisto’s crew detained the suspected smugglers. The panga was towed to San Diego, arriving Saturday morning.

The marijuana and suspected smugglers were turned over to the interagency San Diego Marine Task Force, led by Immigration and Customs Enforcement Homeland Security Investigations.

The Coast Guard and Immigration and Customs Enforcement are member agencies of the 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 operation.

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