With close proximity to Central and South America, drug trafficking is big business in California. Because of this, federal and state authorities monitor the area closely for illegal activity. While many of us think about the boarder guards and fences strewn across the United States and Mexican boarder, some major policing actually takes place at sea. California readers may find the following blog on drug trafficking interesting.
According to federal authorities, more and more frequently drug traffickers are taking to the water and the favorite source of transportation are Mexican fishing boats called “pangas.” Pangas are open-hulled fishing boats capable of hauling up to 2,000 pounds of marijuana and many have reportedly bypassed key Southern California landing zones as they head for drop-off points in places like Santa Cruz and Monterey.
Law enforcement alleges that much of the activity is the result of smugglers being pushed further north by heavy law enforcement presence and increased boarder security activity in Southern California. Federal and state investigators have seized around 70 pangas hauling marijuana since October alone. However, it is believed that many more of these boats have moved up the coast undetected and unloaded their cargo.
Whether a person is facing an arrest for state drug trafficking or federal drug trafficking charges, it is vital to seek the assistance of an experienced criminal defense attorney immediately. Individuals facing federal drug trafficking charges can face stiff financial penalties and long prison sentences. Prison terms alone for federal drug trafficking convictions can range from five years to life depending on the type and amount of drug involved.
Source: Santa Cruz Sentinel, “Surge in drug smuggling boats on Central Coast,” Stephen Baxter, March 15, 2015