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Drug boat washes up at Leo Carrillo

Chris Bashaw, Assistant Editor
2:27 pm PDT April 14, 2014

State Park Rangers at Leo Carrillo State Beach discovered a beached Panga boat filled with marijuana at around 8 a.m. on Monday, April 17, according to a press release from the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, Malibu/Lost Hills Station.

The rangers immediately notified the Malibu/Lost Hills Station and asked for assistance in searching for the former occupants of a 30-foot Panga boat that came ashore.

When deputies arrived at the scene, they noticed the vessel was leaking gasoline and “smelled strongly of marijuana,” the press release states.

Indeed, photos of the vessel show bundles of marijuana stacked at a height greater than the boat itself. The seized marijuana, estimated to weigh approximately 1 ton, is being transported to a local Homeland Security Investigations office to be weighed and processed as evidence.

One of the three suspects was detained “almost immediately” by State Park rangers, said Malibu/Lost Hills Station Lt. Jim Royal.

Royal said two other suspects were arrested approximately an hour after the first individual was caught. Those individuals ran from the boat, but a containment and search was performed by various agencies including California Highway Patrol, the United States Coast Guard, LASD Special Enforcement Bureau, Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the Border Enforcement Security Taskforce, which is a taskforce led by Homeland Security Investigations.

“Everyone was notified in short order and contributed to the effort,” Royal said. “Events like this happen occasionally, and this is not the first time it’s happened in Malibu.”

The press release states that “the ensuing investigation will be handled by investigators of Border Enforcement Security Taskforce, the members of which include personnel from ICE-HIS, the Los Angeles and Orange County Sheriff’s Departments, the Los Angeles Police Department, the Los Angeles Port Police, the U.S. Coast Guard, the Drug Enforcement Administration [as well as] multiple divisions of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection.” 

The Panga boat is in the process of being towed for evidence and the suspects are in the custody of Border Enforcement Security Taskforce investigators for questioning.

The names, identities and further details of the detained suspects were not released by press time.