3 arrested when boat full of drugs lands at Del Mar

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3 people were arrested when a Panga landed on the beach at Del Mar. (Photo: San Diego Union-Tribune)

DEL MAR, Calif. — Three people were arrested and about 30 large bundles of suspected drugs were seized when a small smuggling boat landed on the beach this morning in Del Mar, the U.S. Border Patrol reported.

The Panga boat was first spotted about 2:30 a.m. off the waters of Torrey Pines State Beach and landed on the sand below Fourth Street in Del Mar, USBP public-affairs Agent Tekae Michael said. Three people aboard the boat were detained and the 30 bundles were being tested this morning to confirm they were illegal narcotics.

Pangas like the one discovered this morning are a favorite smuggling vessel used by drug traffickers. Boats.com described the boat, which features an outboard motor, as a low-cost vessel that is versatile and “and can perform in both shallow and deep water.”

Pangas have been used often in recent years to smuggle both drugs and people onto San Diego County beaches from Mexico.