Coast Guard Interdicts Drug Panga, 2 Smugglers


SAN DIEGO — U.S. Coast Guard and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) crews worked together to disrupt a drug smuggling attempt approximately 90 miles southwest of San Diego Saturday night. 

Two suspected smugglers were taken into custody and 31 bales of marijuana were seized.  A CBP Multi-role Enforcement Aircraft crew detected the panga with two people aboard at 5:40 p.m.   An MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter from Sector San Diego, a 45-foot Response Boat from Station San Diego and Coast Guard Cutter Haddock were dispatched to intercept the panga.  The Jayhawk crew arrived on scene and relieved the CBP aircrew from monitoring the panga.  The Response Boat crew arrived on scene and pursued the panga, which refused to stop. The boat crew used warning shots and disabling fire to stop the smugglers.  The suspects, bales and fuel containers were transferred to the Haddock. As the panga was being towed to San Diego it began to take on water and was subsequently sunk to prevent it from being a hazard to navigation.   The suspects and bales were turned over to the Maritime Task Force for further prosecution.
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