Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office Patrol Deputies, along with Narcotics Investigators, responded and located a single-engine, approximately 25-foot “Panga” style boat on the beach. Investigators found items of potential evidence inside and strewn about the surrounding beach, including numerous fuel containers, clothing and other miscellaneous trash type items. Based upon the evidence found at the scene, investigators were unable to immediately determine if this boat was used to smuggle drugs, or if it was used to facilitate human trafficking.
Representatives from California State Parks, Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), and the U.S. Coast Guard also responded to the scene. Investigators removed the boat and debris left behind by the persons involved in this maritime smuggling crime.
This is the third “Panga” discovered in this general vicinity of Refugio State Beach in recent months. The last one was found at nearby Arroyo Quemada Beach on May 17th.
The Sheriff’s Office Special Investigations Bureau is working with HSI to investigate the increase of “Panga Boat” activity in our area.