Chelsea Schreiber

$1 million worth of marijuana seized after boat runs aground in Palos Verdes Estates

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Photos submitted by Mike Avalon

Photos submitted by Mike Avalon

A panga boat with about 20 bales of marijuana was stopped and confiscated yesterday at Rat Beach in Torrance after officials became aware of the vessel traveling northbound from Mexico.

The three men on the boat were arrested after a Coast Guard helicopter cornered them in Malanga Cove, Palos Verdes Estates, where they went aground at about 5 p.m. The Redondo Beach Police Department along with local Palos Verdes Estates authorities, including beach lifeguards, and the U.S Coast Guard helped take the men into custody.

The pot, worth about $1,000,000 was also taken into federal custody.

According to RBPD Chief Joe Leonardi, members of the RBPD SWAT team were on a boat and ready to take the 22-foot boat into custody in the Redondo Harbor. Instead it was taken into federal custody and brought to San Pedro.

“We were called and told it was possibly coming to Redondo Beach, so we were ready,” Leonardi said.

According to authorities, penga boats are often found abandoned along the California coast. The last panga boat to land in the South Bay was early morning last March when a boat traveling from Tijuana was discovered landing north of the NRG power plant. Police from El Segundo and Manhattan Beach responded along with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, Los Angeles County Lifeguard and the U.S. Coast Guard to contain the area. Twenty individuals were detained, which included fifteen men, four women and one 14-year-old child.

 Leonardi said that the police and Coast Guard were worried the men would dump the pot in the ocean or jump themselves, but during the chase the Coast Guard kept a keen eye on the boat and nothing was sent overboard.