19 arrested after small boat lands at California beach
SAN CLEMENTE, Calif. (AP) — Border agents arrested 19 people Tuesday after a panga boat landed at a Southern California beach, federal authorities said.
Agents spotted the small vessel with 17 people aboard around 4:45 a.m. just off Calafia Beach near San Clemente, the Orange County Register reported.
Once reaching land, the group made their way to a sedan that was waiting nearby, driven by a Guatemalan citizen, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
The boat passengers, all Mexican citizens, and the sedan driver were arrested, the agency said in a statement. A few hours later, a Salvadorian citizen was also arrested in connection with the smuggling event, authorities said, though they did not give details about where that person was found.
The Guatemalan and Salvadorian citizens, both in the U.S. illegally, were set to be charged with felony smuggling of illegal immigrants, authorities said.
Pangas are compact fishing vessels often used by smugglers.