Suspected Smuggling Panga Nabbed on Central Coast Beach

Byline: Associated Press

SAN SIMEON (AP) — One person is in custody and four are being sought after San Luis Obispo County sheriff’s deputies spotted a panga-type boat commonly used in smuggling near Piedras Blancas lighthouse.

Sheriff’s spokesman Tony Cipolla told The Tribune of San Luis Obispo that two deputies noticed an open gate along a field at 4:15 a.m. Nov. 27.

The deputies investigated and hiked toward the beach, spotting five men and the 28-foot panga, an open boat often used to smuggle drugs or people into the U.S. from Mexico.

The deputies captured one man as the others fled.

No illegal drugs were found, but 30 containers of fuel were discovered in the ocean off the beach.

The lighthouse near San Simeon is about 370 miles up the coast from the U.S.-Mexico border.

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