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National Park Service shuts down Santa Rosa Island over safety concerns related to drug smuggling

National Park Service
Santa Rosa Island, part of Channel Islands National Park

The National Park Service said Wednesday that it's keeping the public off of Santa Rosa Island, located off the coast of Santa Barbara, because of safety concerns related to drug smuggling. 

A spokesperson for Channel Island National Park says the closure will be in effect until further notice.

On Monday, federal and local investigators found several bundles of marijuana on the island believed to be part of a smuggling event. There is a search underway to find any possible suspects connected to the incident.

Campers on the island have already be removed. More than 70 people had visits booked to Santa Rosa Island for this coming weekend.

“This closure, while unfortunate, is necessary to protect the public from potential harm,” said Channel Islands National Park Superintendent Russell Galipeau in a statement sent to KCBX. “The National Park Service will reopen Santa Rosa Island as soon as the risk is mitigated.”

An abandoned panga boat was found along the Gaviota coastline earlier this week, which is now believed to be a drug running boat connected to the Santa Rosa Island pot bundles.