Seven Detained and 6 Sought After Panga Boat is Discovered in Laguna Beach

Seven people were detained Thursday when a Panga boat came ashore in Laguna Beach.

The boat was discovered about 7 a.m. near West Street Beach, according to the Laguna Beach Police Department.

Laguna Beach police officers and lifeguards responded, along with Border Patrol agents. Police said they were still searching for six other suspects who were seen on security video running from the boat, police said.

Authorities also found two parked "take-away" vehicles believed to be picking up the Panga boat passengers, police said.

A black Honda Civic appearing to be from Riverside and a white Honda with a sticker on it referencing Glendora, were parked in plain view on Pacific Coast Highway.

A video shot by witness Dennis Gold, shows a group of at least a dozen people landing on the beach right in front of the Laguna Royale Condominium Complex.

According to Gold, the pilot accelerated as the boat got closer to shore and claimed he saw two women among those who took off when the boat landed and ten large barrels left on the boat.

More video shows some of the group being detained on the sand but the search continues.

Agents are now trying to locate the missing immigrants. The search will have to be done on foot because police say they cannot fly in this weather.

It was said the Panga came up from Baja and that one man claimed he'd been in that boat for at least ten hours.

Panga boats are often used by suspects smuggling drugs or people into the country.

This coast was popular back in June when two Panga boats washed ashore just a week apart. Since October, customs and border patrol officials have made 191 arrests and recovered 43 Panga boats in SoCal.

Copyright CNS - City News Service
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