San Diego Mission Bay: 2 Pangas with over a ton of marijuana seized
Since Sinaloa began using the Tijuana plaza heavily in the years post 2008, after arrangements were made between Fernando Sanchez Arellano (now detained), Alfredo Azarte Arteaga, (El Aquiles) and the people of Isamel Zambada Garcia, El Mayo, large marijuana seizures have become extremely commonplace.
On a rough average of 8-10 times a year, heavily loaded pangs running up from Baja and Baja Sur, are stopped by US law enforcement assets, often the CBP federal maritime smuggling task force, and the Coast Guard. The pangas are sometimes as far of as the Channel Islands, with boats being found off Catalina Island, and washing ashore in Orange County, the product destined for Los Angeles. In many instances they are laden with human cargo too, as immigrants paying over 6,000k apiece are bundled with the marijuana.
On San Diego's beaches, from Del Mar to Imperial Beach, brazen smuggling attempts are documented. Sometimes they lead to chases and smugglers throwing their cargo overboard. The boats are often quick, some being stripped of anything besides the engines, and loaded with fuel and bales of marijuana, coming up from Sinaloa and the Golden Triangle.
10news video report
Occasionally crystal meth in multi pound quantities is found as well, but normally only marijuana is trafficked in this method. It's bulkiness and relatively low cost of production and transportation make this a relatively practical method. For those in upper tier positions, if 4 get through and one get stopped, the losses are easily absorbed.
In this weeks case, members of the Federal Marine task force approached a 29 ft Amato panda headed for the Dana Landing, and executed a document check, and subsequent K-9 search of the vessel, after noticing an anomaly on the deck. 104 bales of marijuana were found concealed, and the three men were arrested on federal charges.
Later that evening, after 6:00 PM, task force officers conducting searches using a dog, discovered another boat, docked at the same landing, containing 109 bales of marijuana, no arrests were made. In total the drugs were said to be worth just over three quarters of a million dollars, at 760,000 dollars. According to that estimation the pounds were each equal to about $600. This is what they are worth in San Diego, roughly, depending on quality and amount purchased. Their final destination likely will somewhere South or East where the cost is substantially higher.
News reports and statements from arresting agencies say nothing regarding the seizure, however based on the facts as they have been reported it is likely the two seizures were related. It is also a possibility the boats were not randomly found, but the result of an investigation. Given the chronology and proximity it is also likely information from the first arrests, prompted the second seizure, either by information given, or taken from the suspects.
Sources: UT San Diego, NBC 7, 10news.