RANCHO PALOS VERDES (CBSLA.com) — More than two dozen people were arrested Monday morning after their panga boat was spotted off the coast of Rancho Palos Verdes.
KNX 1070′s Vytas Safronikas reports U.S. Customs and Border Patrol (ICE) officials said the 25-foot boat was first seen by Border Patrol agents around 5 a.m. in the waters off Abalone Cove.
Panga boats are commonly used to smuggle drugs or immigrants onto U.S. shores.
Authorities arrested 25 people, a total of 19 men and six women, and are searching for additional suspects who may have swam to shore and escaped, according to ICE.
“The 25 individuals are being interviewed by HSI investigators to develop further evidence related to the smuggling attempt and identify any suspects who were complicit in the scheme,” Virginia Kice, spokesperson for ICE, said.
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, the Los Angeles Police Department and the Los Angeles Port Police assisted in the arrests and subsequent investigation.
Since October, there have been at least 44 maritime smuggling incidents in Southern California, including seven in Orange, Los Angeles and Ventura counties.