Politics
6:44 pm
Tue April 22, 2014

Rep. Lois Capps discusses California's panga problem

A pair of panga boats—often used for fishing, but increasingly used for drug running along the California coast.
A pair of panga boats—often used for fishing, but increasingly used for drug running along the California coast.
Credit Flickr member jE norton

The San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors approved at its Tuesday meeting, spending $493,000 in federal grant money to purchase a 27-foot defense vessel to aid in the fight against pangas—small, wooden drug running boats that come up the coast from Mexico and in most cases are carrying large amounts of marijuana.

How serious is the panga boat situation off our Central Coast? The U.S. Coast Guard tells KCBX that in years past, pangas were mainly an issue for San Diego and Orange Counties. But the number of drug runners working their way farther up the coast into Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo and Monterey Counties has been on the rise in recent years.

Monday morning, 24th District Congresswoman Lois Capps met with federal, state, and local law enforcement in Santa Barbara to discuss the growing concern.