Federal authorities teamed up to arrest 21 people for allegedly attempting to smuggle nearly $9 million in marijuana and cannabis oil onto the California Coast.
San Diego Sector Border Patrol agents teamed up with U.S. Customs and Border Protections’ (CBP) Air and Marine Operations (AMO) agents and members of the U.S. Coast Guard to stop a group of 21 smugglers from being able to move more than two tons of marijuana and 64 gallons of cannabis oil onto the coast of California on Wednesday evening, according to information obtained from CBP officials.
An AMO aircrew assigned to a Multi-role Enforcement Aircraft (MEA) spotted a 50-foot “super panga” with three powerful engines off the California coast near Santa Barbara. Agent on board the aircraft notified U.S. Coast Guard officials and San Diego Sector Border Patrol agents who responded to the area. State and local law enforcement also got involved to stop the drug smuggling attempt, officials stated.
Law enforcement assets responded to the area as the watercraft prepared to make landfall. As the super panga beached itself, a 17 person “offload” crew jumped out and attempted to flee along with the four crew members of the boat.
As law enforcement personnel arrived on the scene of the beached boat, officials rounded up the 21 members of the alleged smuggling crew. Agents found 204 bundles of marijuana and 64 gallons of cannabis oil (honey oil) near the boat. It took Border Patrol agents and other law enforcement officials hours to unload the boat and prepare for the helicopter aircrew to remove the drugs.
The four super panga boat crewmembers were determined to be Mexican nationals. The offload crew consisted of 17 U.S. citizens including three juveniles, officials reported. Agents seized the boat and the drugs. ALl were turned over to U.S. Immigration and Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) for further investigation.
Officials reported the street value of the 5,304 pounds of marijuana to be $2,129,000. They also estimated the 64 gallons of cannabis oil to be worth approximately $6,846,336, officials stated.
In additional to Border Patrol, AMO, and Coast Guard officials, Santa Barbara Sheriff’s Department deputies, Ventura County Sheriff’s Office deputies, California State Park police, and the California Highway Patrol Coastal Division troopers all played a role in the seizure of the drugs and the arrest of the alleged smugglers.
Bob Price serves as associate editor and senior news contributor for the Breitbart Texas-Border team. He is an original member of the Breitbart Texas team. Price is a regular panelist on Fox 26 Houston’s What’s Your Point? Sunday-morning talk show. Follow him on Twitter @BobPriceBBTX and Face