MALIBU (CBSLA) — At least 18 people believed to be part of a human smuggling operation have been detained Thursday near the border of Ventura and Los Angeles counties.
A state park ranger first spotted a panga boat trying to come ashore at Pacific Coast Highway near Thornhill Broome Beach in Ventura County just before 8 a.m.
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1/2 Just before 8am, a @CAStateParks ranger spotted a panga boat off the coast of PCH. All 20 people on board were apprehended with assistance from @VCAirUnit & @LASDHQ. Aid is being provided by VCSO & @VCFD at Fire Station 56 for passengers suffering dehydration & hunger. pic.twitter.com/Wx77SkB8xC
— Ventura County Sheriff (@VENTURASHERIFF) August 12, 2021
When the occupants of the boat saw the officers, they tried to go south in the water and landed at Staircase Beach in Malibu. Everyone in the boat got out and fled the scene.READ MORE: Chanukah Celebrations Stress Message Of "Light Over Darkness" In Trying Times
Most of those people have since been detained. Authorities say there were 18 life jackets in the boat, and everyone who was on it is believed to have been detained, but a final count is still underway. Some of those detained were taken to a hospital to be treated for dehydration and hunger.MORE NEWS: Authorities Investigating Fatal North Hollywood Shooting On Monday Evening
The incident is under investigation as a human smuggling operation and has been turned over to the Department of Homeland Security and Customs and Border Protection.