NEWPORT BEACH (AP) — More than a dozen suspected illegal immigrants were captured early Tuesday on a Southern California beach after a smuggling boat capsized in rough surf.
The boat was spotted landing at Crystal Cove State Park in Orange County at 5 a.m. Tuesday, said Virginia Kice, spokeswoman for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
The boat capsized but all 15 adults aboard made it to the beach.
Federal agents captured 14 — one of whom was found hiding in brush — while one other escaped, Kice said. Of the 14, 11 are men and three are women.
They are being questioned to determine what role, if any, they had in planning the smuggling operation.
The capture follows the weekend rescue of 15 suspected illegal immigrants stranded on Santa Cruz Island in the Channel Islands northwest of Los Angeles. Ten others were detained in the Malibu area last month.
Authorities say smugglers have been turning to sea routes from Mexico into the U.S. because of increased enforcement on land.
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