U.S. Coast Guard and Customs & Border Protection (CBP) worked together to track and interdict a panga boat carrying approximately 6,900 pounds of marijuana with three men onboard approximately 140 miles south of San Diego, Saturday night.
A CBP Office of Air and Marine Multi-role Enforcement Aircraft (MEA) and Coast Guard air and surface crews tracked the panga off the Southern California coast before a Coast Guard Station San Diego 45-foot Response Boat-Medium crew interdicted the panga.
The 87-foot Coast Guard Cutter Haddock crew arrived on scene and conducted a law enforcement boarding and discovered 265 bales of marijuana aboard.
The cutter crew transported the marijuana, suspected smugglers and the seized panga to San Diego Sunday afternoon.
The marijuana and suspected smugglers were turned over to the interagency San Diego Marine Task Force and panga was turned over to CBP’s Office of Air and Marine.
The Coast Guard and Customs and Border Protection 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. ReCoM coordinates planning and operations to target the threat of transnational crime along the coastal border.
Press Release, March 18, 2014, Image: USCG