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3 Detained After Panga Boat Carrying Pot Found in Malibu Area

Three people were detained after a panga boat loaded with an estimated ton of marijuana was intercepted on a beach in the Malibu area on Monday.

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Authorities responded to a panga boat on the Malibu coast on April 7, 2014. (Credit: KTLA)

The vessel, approximately 30 feet in length, was discovered about 8 a.m. in Leo Carrillo State Park (map), near the Ventura County line, according to Virginia Kice, a spokeswoman for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

The boat was estimated to hold more than 1 ton of marijuana in bundles, Kice said in an email just before noon.

State park rangers began searching for the boat’s occupants after the panga came ashore “leaking gasoline and smell(ing) strongly of marijuana,” according to a news release issued late Monday afternoon by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.

Rangers detained one person and got help from numerous other federal, state and local agencies, taking two others into custody, the Sheriff’s Department stated.

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The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department provided this photo of the panga.

The boat was loaded with many large bundles wrapped in black plastic sheeting, video from the scene showed. Authorities in dive suits were at the site, as were Los Angeles County firefighters and other investigators.

 The three people who were detained were in the custody of investigators from the multiagency, Homeland Security Investigations-led Border Enforcement Security Task Force and were being questioned, according to the sheriff’s news release.

The seized marijuana was being transported to a local homeland security office to be weighed and processed as evidence, and the panga was being towed for use as evidence, the Sheriff’s Department stated.

Anyone with information about this incident was asked to contact Kice  at 949-360-3096. To provide information anonymously, call “Crime Stoppers” at 800-222-8477, or text the letters TIPLA plus the tip to 274637 (CRIMES), or use lacrimestoppers.org.

A panga boat was intercepted in Palos Verdes Estates last Friday and 17 people were detained, the Los Angeles Times reported. No drugs were found aboard that boat.