SAN SIMEON, Calif- Another panga boat was spotted this morning in San Simeon on a popular beach. It's the first one in San Luis Obispo County that's been in plain view, even locals got an up close look at the panga boat.
"We spotted it with binoculars from right across the bridge there and my buddy knew what it was exactly," said Bill Walters, an onlooker. A local on the beach this morning called into the Sheriff's Office reporting the abandoned panga boat. It also had about 30-pounds of marijuana left on it which is worth about 18-thousand dollars, but detectives said they believe the drug smugglers got away with much more.
"Detectives believe that this boat was used to off load several thousand pounds of marijuana and it most likely happened sometime overnight into the early morning hours," said Tony Cipolla, a Sheriff's Office Spokesperson. In the past panga boats have been found in very vegetative or hidden areas on the coast. However this one was found on a popular beach in San Simeon, across the street from a campground.
"What this shows is that they are getting more bold in the fact that they are showing up on beaches that have easy access to the highway, to highway 1, and they are taking their chances," said Cipolla.
The Sheriff's Office said it believes there were a number of people involved in this operation in order to offload the suspected thousands of pounds of marijuana. Typically the Sheriff's will tow the boat to Morro Bay where they will hand it over to the feds which it will then usually destroy the boat.
As of Tuesday afternoon there have been no arrests.
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