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Coast Guard chases down pot-smuggling boat off San Diego coast

After a high-speed chase about 90 miles southwest of San Diego, a Coast Guard boat overtook a panga and arrested two men on suspicion of attempting to smuggle marijuana into the U.S.

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As the 45-foot response boat from the Coast Guard station in San Diego neared the panga, Coast Guard crew members first fired warning shots, and then disabling shots, in an effort to stop the panga, which had refused to halt, the Coast Guard said.

Some 31 bales of marijuana were seized on the panga. The suspects and evidence were transferred to the Coast Guard cutter Haddock.

As it was being towed to San Diego, the panga began to take on water and had to be sunk to avoid being a hazard to other boats.

The panga had been spotted by a U.S. Customs and Border Protection aircraft, which alerted the Coast Guard. The incident occurred late Saturday afternoon and was revealed Tuesday.

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Twitter: @LATsandiego

tony.perry@latimes.com

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