The Santa Barbara Sheriff's Office was summoned to the area, located north of Refugio State Beach, to investigate a 30-foot panga style fishing boat. Suspected marijuana bales were also discovered strewn around the area.
Authorities found several hidden compartments onboard the abandoned boat and located a significant amount of evidence consistent with marijuana smuggling activities around the area. The panga style fishing boat had two outboard engines and more than 20 fuel containers on board.
Fifty plastic-wrapped bales of marijuana were found partially hidden within bushes adjacently located on the roadway leading to and from the beach. According to authorities, the contraband weighed approximately 2,000 pounds and has an estimated street value of $4 million.
Santa Barbara Sheriff's Narcotics detectives seized the marijuana and evidence left behind by the smugglers.
The evidence will undergo further examination as part of the ongoing investigation and will also be related to Homeland Security.
Sheriff's K9 unit searched the immediate area for any associated suspects to no avail.
Panga boats are often used to smuggle people, narcotics, and or other contraband from Mexico to California.
There were more than 20 drug smuggling boats intercepted last year off Santa Barbara County's coastline, according to investigators.