Three Los Angeles men were among those arrested after an alleged smuggling ring was busted while unloading 1,200 pounds of marijuana on a Santa Cruz beach, authorities said Sunday.
The Santa Cruz County Anti-Crime Team said they have arrested Silviano Davalos Jr., 30, from San Luis, Ariz.; Jose Luis Martinez-Ruiz, 34; Alex Cerna, 24; and Jose Martin Garcia, 30, all of Los Angeles on marijuana transportation charges.
According to authorities, a California state lifeguard was patrolling Shark Tooth Beach along Santa Cruz County’s North Coast on Saturday morning when he saw the suspects on the beach acting suspiciously. He also saw a Panga type boat beached in the water line.
The lifeguard was familiar with this type of boat and its preferred use by drug smugglers. He called for other law enforcement assistance as the suspects fled the beach.
Patrol units from the Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Office, Cal Fire Law Enforcement, UCSC Police, California Highway Patrol, and the Capitola Police K-9, all responded and searched the area.
The suspects were taken into custody and the officers found several dozen tightly wrapped bundles of marijuana down on the beach with the boat.
Ultimately law enforcement officers collected and seized 175 separate bundles of marijuana from the beach. The total weight of the seizure was almost 1200 pounds having an estimated retail value of $2.1 million.
Through examination of items abandoned on the beach and other evidence collected during the ensuing investigation, authorities were able to link the four men to the drug shipment.
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