GAVIOTA - On March 12, 2020 at approximately 3:30 a.m., Santa Barbara Sheriff’s Office, along with the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office, California Highway Patrol, Homeland Security Investigations, and California State Parks responded to the area of Gaviota Beach and Hollister Ranch to investigate reports of a possible panga boat heading that way. The law enforcement team contacted numerous suspected transnational smugglers, who were in the process of unloading a 50-foot panga boat that had been beached about a half mile north of Gaviota, near Hollister Ranch. Law enforcement officers arrested 20 people after discovering numerous plastic burlap style bags containing approximately 5,300 pounds of dried marijuana as well as more than 40 gallons of marijuana crude oil.
The panga boat and all arrestees were released to agents from the Department of Homeland Security and transported to a federal detention facility.
“This is an example of law enforcement agencies on the local, state and federal level working together to enforce the law and to protect us from harm,” said California Statewide Law Enforcement Association (CSLEA) President Alan Barcelona. “Great job by all!”