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    Administrator Jean's Avatar
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    Panga boats 'running around' Coast Guard along Californian coast

    November 20, 2013 | By David Perera
    fiercehomelandsecurity.com



    Mexican panga boats operated by smugglers once were primarily a problem along the southern California coast, but now they're coming as far north as San Francisco, a Coast Guard admiral told a Nov. 19 House panel.

    The wide bottomed boats, which can take on heavy loads and navigate shallow waters, "are running around us," said Rear Adm. William "Dean" Lee, deputy for operations policy and capabilities. He testified before the House Homeland Security subcommittee on border and maritime security.

    "Where it used to be a southern California issue, now it's the whole of California issue. They've got the logistics in place to do it and we don't have enough patrol craft to be on top of them at this particular time," Lee lamented. Smugglers in a panga fleeing Coast Guard interdiction killed a Coast Guardsman near Santa Cruz Island, Calif., in late 2012.

    Panga boats made of wood or fiberglass have a small radar signature and are often used during nighttime, noted Randolph Alles, head of the Office of Air and Marine within Customs and Border Protection.

    Of the 243 smuggling events detected in the San Diego sector during the last fiscal year, 81 involved pangas, which collectively carried onboard 93,240 pounds of marijuana, Alles said.

    The response to the boats includes increased airtime patrols, including unmanned aerial vehicles, he added.

    CBP does have some limitations on flying UAVs, he noted, caused by the difficulty of safely integrating them into the national airspace system.

    The Coast Guard is the test phase when it comes to UAVs, Lee noted. The service deployed for two weeks a small UAV onboard the National Security Cutter USCG Bertholf, and used it to spot and surveil a vessel found to be smuggling nearly 600 kilograms of cocaine.

    "We see great potential for this in the realm of [maritime domain awareness]," Lee said.

    http://www.fiercehomelandsecurity.co...ast/2013-11-20
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  2. #2
    Administrator Jean's Avatar
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    To read this article you would think these boats are only used to smuggle drugs....we know better from numerous articles on this forum. People and drugs are smuggled.
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