GAVIOTA, Calif. - Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s deputies and several other law enforcement agencies are investigating after they intercepted a possible drug smuggling boat, or panga boat.
Investigators say they received a tip from the Coast Guard that a possible panga boat was heading toward the area between Gaviota Beach and Hollister Ranch around 3:30 Thursday morning.
Deputies found the 50-foot panga boat beached about a half mile north of Gaviota, near Hollister Ranch.
The smugglers were in process of unloading the vessels when investigators arrived.
Deputies arrested 20 people while seizing 5,300 pounds of dried marijuana and 40 gallons of marijuana crude oil.
The panga boat and everyone arrested by deputies were released to the Department of Homeland Security and transported to a federal detention facility.