Suspected Smuggling Boat Found Aground at Crystal Cove

Four people were detained after an abandoned panga boat washed ashore in Orange County Tuesday morning. 

The abandoned boat was found earlier this morning at Crystal Cove State Park, where a helicopter quickly found and detained the people who ran off. 

It's unclear whether there were more people aboard the vessel. 

During the investigation, El Morro Elementary School was briefly placed on lockdown while police attempted to search for more people who were suspected to be involved. The Border Patrol said 9 people were on board and all were Mexican nationals. 

 

Pangas are open boats that are designed for fishing and are commonly used by smugglers to bring people or drugs north from Mexico.

This isn't the first time a panga boat has washed up on the Laguna Beach coastline. Another empty panga boat was discovered on June 11, after its occupants fled the vessel and were not found by authorities. 

Photo: Corbin Carson. 

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