At around 9:45 a.m. yesterday morning, local ranch employees discovered a beached boat within a secluded cove on the Cojo Ranch, below the Point Conception Light House. Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Narcotics Detectives responded to the scene and found an abandoned 30 foot Panga boat. Detectives found approximately 2,000 pounds of marijuana stashed at the base of a nearby cliff, adjacent to the boat. The marijuana has an estimated street value of approximately 4 million dollars.
On Monday, April 29th, Sheriff’s Deputies arrested 19-year-old Jesus Garcia-Guzman from Mexico, on burglary charges for entering structures on Hollister Ranch late Monday evening. At the time of his initial arrest, it was suspected that Garcia-Guzman was involved in Marijuana trafficking via Panga Boat activity. Further investigation revealed that Garcia-Guzman was involved in maritime smuggling of marijuana associated with the Panga Boat discovered at Cojo Ranch.
Yesterday, Narcotics Investigators re-booked Garcia-Guzman on drug trafficking charges. He is in the Santa Barbara County Jail and his bail was set at 100,000 dollars.
Sheriff’s Narcotics investigators are working closely with Homeland Security Investigations on this current smuggling investigation, as well as with the overall problem of drugs and human trafficking via Panga boats operating in our coastal waters.
Because the cove where the boat and marijuana was found was inaccessible by vehicle, Santa Barbara Air Support Unit Copter 2 assisted in removing the marijuana from the beach. Homeland Security assisted in removing the vessel, which will be transported to Long Beach and booked as evidence.