Reporting Ed Mertz
EL SEGUNDO (CBS) — Dozens of suspected illegal immigrants were detained on Wednesday after a small boat ran ashore in El Segundo.
KNX 1070′s Ed Mertz reports federal immigration agents and other law enforcement agencies rounded up 20 individuals aboard the vessel.
Police said they received calls at around 6:45 a.m. that a so-called “panga” boat that is believed to have originated from Tijuana had landed on the beach near 45th Street and The Strand in El Segundo.
15 males, four females and a juvenile were found aboard the vessel, according to El Segundo Police Lt. Raymond Garcia.
Police turned the suspects over to Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials for processing.
“There are no indications this had anything to do with drugs,” said Garcia. “These are just people trying to make it to the United States for a better life.”
The number of panga boat landings in Southern California has soared over the past year, with 14 people arrested in the most recent landing near Bolsa Chica State Beach on Feb. 2.
There have been a total of 16 maritime human and drug smuggling events in Los Angeles and Orange counties between last October and Feb. 22 of this year, while 36 events were tallied in San Diego County, according to ICE spokesperson Virginia Kice.