Marijuana bundles

Bundles of marijuana seized aboard a panga boat by the U.S. Coast Guard 155 miles southwest of San Diego. (Connie Gawrelli / December 11, 2013)

SAN DIEGO -- For the second time this month, Coast Guard personnel shot out the engine of a panga boat attempting to flee after being detected in an attempt to smuggle marijuana into the U.S., authorities said Wednesday.

The latest incident occured 155 miles southwest of San Diego on Tuesday morning and involved a panga carrying 7,100 pounds of marijuana. Three suspected smugglers were taken into custody.

The first incident occurred Dec. 2 about 140 miles southwest of San Diego. In that case, 6,000 pounds of marijuana was seized and two suspected smugglers were taken into custody.

"The Coast Guard aviators and intercept boat crews who tracked down, warned and then shot out the engines of the fleeing pangas in these two cases used their law enforcement training, tools and techniques," said Capt. Michael Eagle, chief of response for the 11th Coast Guard District.

In Tuesday's incident, the panga was initially spotted by a Coast Guard HC-130 Hercules aircraft and then pursued by cutters Active and Edisto and a 45-foot response boat.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection aircraft also provided aerial coverage.


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