Pot bust

Authorities say they found more than 5,000 pounds of marijuana associated with a panga boat that turned up at Año Nuevo State Park on Friday. Photo courtesy U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Nine suspects were arrested after a 40-foot vessel carrying 5,100 pounds of marijuana was intercepted by authorities in Pescadero late Friday night.

The panga, a lightweight boat commonly used by drug smugglers, was seized at Año Nuevo State Park around midnight on Friday and six men were initially arrested. Three additional suspects were taken into custody around 10 a.m. on Saturday, according to Virginia Kice, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement spokeswoman.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security notified San Mateo County Narcotics Task Force agents that such a boat might be landing off the coast. The agents witnessed two large vans enter Año Nuevo State Beach around 10 p.m. Friday and meet a panga that landed there. Agents stopped the vans as they drove onto Highway 1.

The panga floated off after the marijuana had been loaded off the boat, but a local fisherman spotted it adrift. It was recovered by the U.S. Coast Guard, according to a release from the San Mateo County district attorney’s office.

The boat was piloted from Mexico, and four of the suspects are residents of Sinaloa, Mexico, authorities say. The other suspects are from San Diego and San Jose, Calif. The defendants are 20-year-old Luis Farid Gonzalez, 36-year-old Mario Gonzalez, 39-year-old Juan Hernandez, 50-year-old Juan Valdez Lopez, 28-year-old Luis Espinoza Mendoza, 39-year-old Estaban Flores Salazar, 19-year-old Joan Sicairos, 38-year-old Mark Richard Teixeira, and 33-year-old Phin Yo Vorn.

All of the defendants, with the exception of Mario Gonzalez, who was unavailable for court, pleaded not guilty on Monday. The preliminary hearing is set for Aug. 14. Bail for all the defendants has been set for $1 million, and all are currently being held at San Mateo County jail.

Kice said it’s possible that the defendants could still face federal prosecution, as well.

Agencies that assisted with this incident include the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, which is the lead investigative agency, the Border Enforcement Security Task Force, San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office, the Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Office, the California Highway Patrol, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the Coast Guard and the Bureau of Land Management.

This incident is the second of its kind in recent months. In May, a little more than 1,200 pounds of marijuana were seized from an abandoned panga that washed ashore at Pescadero State Beach.

From Oct. 1, 2013, through July 9, 2014, there were two drug smuggling vessels seized in San Mateo County along with 1,026 pounds of marijuana. No arrests were made in conjunction with these incidents. According to statistics provided by Kice, the majority of smuggling apprehensions during that time took place in open ocean waters, including those off Mexico.

(7) comments

Barney

Go outside and exercise. Do something with your time.

John Charles Ullom

DNA? Why? If they look or sound like ARABS then why take a risk? Call homeland security and get 'em against the wall.

As for Mr. Teixeira, I can't stand the Yankees so more power to them and their ARAB first baseman: -- https://www.facebook.com/teixeiramark25

Allahu Akbar and pass the tortillas!!

Toonitas

Hey JCL, I guess we will need a DNA test. Luis is also a Hispanic name. If we're supposed to be suspicious of the non-Hispanic Iberians you might consider the accomplice, Mr. Teixeira...

Tyler Durden

Do the accused qualify for asylum? Their US-taxpayer-paid lawyers should be able to get them off with minimal jail time. After all they were probably just fleeing organized crime in their native land and brought along some of the cartels' drugs as a way to take it off the streets in Mexico.

John Charles Ullom

It is not PC but I am more frightened by the man's first name than his middle name.

Luis is a Portuguese name. Portuguese people make me nervous. I mean just look at them. You can see the Moorish Blood of Muslim invaders in them. They look like ARABS for Christ's sake. I

And if that isn't t bad enough, there is the Gonzales sur name. Are you aware the Gonzales came from the Visigoths? Do you even know what a Visigoth is?

So what do we have here?

A guy pretending to be Portuguese with an Arabic sounding middle name who smokes too many cigarettes, has a bad attitude, and conforms to the Gothic dress code so as to prove he won't conform.

Be afraid people. Be very afraid. Like Arabs, all Visigoths are to be viewed with dread and suspicion. Proof: -- http://godhatesgoths.com/gothterrorists.html

Google up Farid and Mexico if you dare though I don't recommend it if you are easily frightened by boogy men.

Toonitas

It's probably not PC to be wondering about the middle name of Luis Farid Gonzalez.


http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Farid

Hello Homeland Security! Hello? Hello?

bigse94019

Cartels much?

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