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2000 Pounds of Pot Seized in Boat off Santa Barbara

18 people were arrested and 2,000 pounds of marijuana were seized after a boat landed on a quiet Santa Barbara Beach Friday. Law enforcement officials said the boat was first spotted by a group of national guardsmen. The tip was turned over to Santa Barbara Sheriff’s who made the bulk of the arrests with the help of some other law enforcement agencies. Federal authorities later located a truck which was tied to the bust and led to additional evidence and arrests. Many of the suspects were thought to be from Los Angeles County. Identitites of the subjects were being withheld pending filing decisions by prosecutors.

Early indications suggest the United State’s Attorney will file charges in this case. However, many small drug related offenses are prosecuted by local authorities under certain circumstances. In this case the suspects would likely face much harsher sentencing laws if prosecuted by the federal government instead of the County of Santa Barbara.

There have been ten similar busts in the Central Coast area since last year. A total of almost 10,000 pounds of marijuana was seized as a result of ocean based smuggling attempts. The U.S. Attorney General recently made a new policy statement about how federal authorities were choosing to address marijuana laws, specifically state laws which are in conflict with federal policy. The new policy generally indicated that the federal government is going to support state laws and only enforce marijuana laws associated with trafficking, firearms violations, other violent conduct or illegal conduct involving trafficking or support for trafficking other types of drugs. I guess the guys in the boat didn’t have their medical recommendations with them.

If you have been arrested for a drug offense or any other crime, call me, Attorney Jeffrey Vallens (818) 783-5700 or email me at: or visit my websites: or