Federal authorities from San Pedro on Wednesday intercepted a small boat carrying about 35 large bundles of marijuana and arrested three men on board just north of San Miguel Island off Santa Barbara County.
Agents aboard a U.S. Customs and Border Protection aircraft spotted the panga about 7:45 a.m. and tracked it as it headed north. Coast Guard officials from San Diego and San Pedro/Long Beach headed toward the scene.
The boat was stopped in the water when it ran out of fuel. Coast Guard officers arrested the men, and took custody of the marijuana.
Mexican drug smugglers have repeatedly taken to the ocean as border security on land has become tighter.
An empty panga was discovered Nov. 8 on the beach at the entrance to Ballona Creek near Marina del Rey. Coast Guard and Customs and Border Protection authorities followed a panga loaded with marijuana to Palos Verdes Estates on Oct. 30. Three men were arrested.
- Larry Altman