• 6 Sentenced in Panga Boat Smuggling Incident

    2800 pounds of marijuana seized, offloaded from panga boat near Big Surpanga boat copy

    Monterey County District Attorney Dean D. Flippo announced that six of nine men captured in a smuggling incident involving a panga boat entered pleas of no contest to illegally importing 2800 pounds of marijuana into the United States on June 12, 2015. All six men (Alejandro Acosta, Jr, age 26; Aaron Quintero, age 23, both from Yuma, Arizona; Jesus Israelas Carrion Corrales, age 51; Gonzalo Ruiz Quezara, age 28; Victor Sandoval, age 41; and Jose Burgueno Sanchez, age 39, all residents of Mexico) were immediately sentenced to two years.

    These charges stem from a multi-agency response to a Panga boat landing near Mill Creek in Big Sur in the very early morning of June 12, 2015. The United States Coast Guard first tracked the boat at sea by radar and started a ground response when the boat entered United States waters just after midnight and began a high speed run toward the Big Sur coast. A Panga boat is an open fishing vessel usually equipped with outboard motors often used for fishing. This particular Panga boat was 30 feet long, had a modified extra-large fuel bladder and two large outboard motors.

    A San Luis Obispo County task force responded from the south. Federal agents with Homeland Security Investigations, Drug Enforcement Agents (DEA), Customs and Border Patrol, and Bureau of Land Management responded form the Bay Area. State officers from Fish and Wildlife and the Highway Patrol responded as well as the Monterey County Sheriff’s Office.

    San Luis Obispo officers were first on scene and discovered the Panga boat on the beach with almost half of its 111 bales of marijuana already unloaded. No persons were found near the beach or the marijuana. A campsite with a view of the beach and of Highway one was discovered which contained a GPS unit which had been on the Panga boat and contained waypoints which traced the boats origin back to just south of Ensenada, Mexico three days prior.

    Law enforcement officers stopped a panel van which contained four men who were all wet and sandy from the waist down. The van had an identical tent as was found at the campsite. The van also contained two CB radios which were identical to and tuned to the same channel as the radio on the boat. Five other men were arrested who were wet and sandy, could not account for their presence on the Big Sur coast and but could be tied to the panel van and Panga boat. In total, nine persons were charged with transportation of marijuana, possession of marijuana for sale, and conspiracy. Two immediately posted bail and are presumed to have fled to Mexico, one previously pled guilty, the remaining six pled today.

    The DEA believes the Panga boats are being financed and controlled by the Sinaloa Cartel in Mexico. Approximately ten Panga boat landings have occurred along California’s central coast in the last year. Each landed with between 2 and 6 million dollars worth of marijuana. 

    posted to Cedar Street Times on October 30, 2015

    Topics: Front PG News, Police Log

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