SANTA BARBARA COUNTY- On July 20, 2021, California State Parks rangers alerted the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department to a panga boat landing at Arroyo Hondo-Vista Point. Rangers and lifeguards assisted with locating those associated with the boat, including people on board and those who fled upon landing.
Fourteen people were taken in to custody. According to the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office, it is suspected the panga was being used in a human smuggling operation. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security is now investigating.
“Panga boats are often associated with drug or human smuggling and encountering them as they are coming ashore can be very dangerous for law enforcement officers,” said California Statewide Law Enforcement Association (CSLEA) President Alan Barcelona. “Thankfully no one was hurt.”