U.S. Coast Guard captures panga boat carrying thousands of pounds of marijuana

Contraband, suspects turned over to Mexican Navy

SAN DIEGO - A  panga fishing boat carrying thousands of pounds of marijuana was captured by the U.S. Coast Guard off the coast of San Diego and turned over to the Mexican Navy, along with its crew, the Coast Guard reported.

The interdiction took place more than 100 miles southwest of San Diego on Tuesday, said Petty Officer 3rd Class Connie Gawrelli, a U.S. Coast Guard spokeswoman.

The panga had been spotted by the crew of a Coast Guard C-130 Hercules aircraft conducting surveillance off the coast, Gawrelli said. The Coast Guard cutter Edisto was then dispatched to intercept the vessel.

The panga's crew members were throwing fuel barrels overboard when the Edisto approached, Gawrelli said, adding that they then immediately surrendered to the cutter's crew and identified themselves as Mexican nationals.

An estimated 250 bales of pot were found still on board, with each bale weighing between 10 and 40 pounds, Gawrelli said. The panga, its crew and the marijuana were turned over to the Mexican Navy, she said.

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