Byline: Associated Press
MALIBU (AP) — Three suspected marijuana smugglers from Mexico have been arrested in a small fishing boat off Malibu, following a brief ocean chase in which 80 bales of pot were tossed overboard, authorities said April 25.
Los Angeles County lifeguards notified the Sheriff’s Department after spotting a suspicious 29-foot boat about 50 feet off Latigo Beach, at about 10:30 p.m. April 24, Sgt. Stephanie Shrout said.
Deputies confirmed it was a twin-outboard engine panga, an open outboard-powered fishing boat often used by smugglers. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security was contacted.
Before a Coast Guard vessel intercepted the boat, the suspects tossed 20-pound bales of marijuana into the sea, authorities said. Three men were taken into custody.
“Shortly before the pursuit ensued, the panga’s occupants began tossing bales of marijuana overboard. So far, the U.S. Coast Guard has recovered more than 80 bales of marijuana, and the search is ongoing at this time,” Immigration and Customs Enforcement spokeswoman Virginia Kice said.
The suspects, whose names were not released, will face federal drug charges, Kice said.
It was the fourth interception of oceangoing marijuana smugglers off the Los Angeles area coast since April 21, Kice told City News Service.