Tags: laguna beach | lockdown | panga boat

Laguna Beach Lockdown Caused by Abandoned Panga Boat

Laguna Beach Lockdown Caused by Abandoned Panga Boat

A panga boat (Robert Lerich/Dreamstime)

By    |   Wednesday, 20 June 2018 08:45 AM

A Laguna Beach elementary school was placed on lockdown after an abandoned panga-style boat washed up on a nearby California beach on Tuesday.

Pangas are "Mexican-style fishing boats" powered by outboard motors and used to smuggle drugs and illegal immigrants into the country, the San Diego Union Tribune reported, citing the U.S. Border Patrol.

KTLA-TV reported that authorities detained four subjects about an hour after the boat was discovered in Crystal Cove State Park about 6:35 a.m. and they were being processed at a U.S. Customs and Border Protection facility.

Officers had responded to a report of a group of men aboard a small boat had landed at Moro Beach, The Los Angeles Times reported.

Laguna Beach police officers joined in the search for the men with Border Patrol agents, using a drone with infrared technology, while the Orange County Sheriff's Department offered a helicopter crew, KTLA-TV said.

The Laguna Beach Unified School District said El Morro Elementary School was on lockdown for two hours during the search.

Laguna Beach Police updated the public about the search on Twitter.

It was the second time in a month when an abandoned boat suspected to be used for human smuggling was found in the area, the Union Tribune said. That boat was discovered on the beach near Reef Point on June 11.

While no one was found on the boat, authorities believe 12 people used it to enter the U.S. illegally.

Border Patrol spokesman Theron Francisco told the Union Tribune there were 129 such "maritime events" along the California coast last year, most of which involving panga boats. He said that some incidents, though, included the use of jet skis and family boats.

From October 2017 to May of this year there were 63 additional events, said Francisco.

"Most of the people being smuggled through the maritime scene are not the ones claiming asylum or refugee status," he said.

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A Laguna Beach elementary school was placed on lockdown after an abandoned panga-style boat washed up on a nearby California beach on Tuesday.
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2018-45-20
Wednesday, 20 June 2018 08:45 AM
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