Panga boat carrying 14 people lands south of the San Clemente Pier, with border agents detaining 13
A panga-style boat carrying 14 people washed up early Monday near T-Street Beach just south of the San Clemente Pier.
It was shortly after midnight on Dec. 2, when an aircraft detected the small boat about 13 miles west of San Clemente, according to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
The aircraft alerted the U.S. Coast Guard, which sent two vessels to intercept the boat.
Within 50 minutes later, the vessels were in pursuit of the panga, which would not stop, authorities said. Pangas are compact fishing vessels often used by smugglers.
The panga came ashore at T-Street Beach in San Clemente, and the 14 aboard fled.
Agents chased and detained 13 of them: nine were Mexican men, two were Mexican boys, and two were Chinese men. All of them were in the country illegally, border officials said.
The panga was seized by the U.S. Border Patrol.
On Sunday, authorities detained 21 aboard a 25-foot-long cabin-pleasure craft one mile southeast of Point Loma in San Diego. Four of those aboard were suspected smugglers, with two of them Americans. The others —five women and 12 men— were Mexican nationals in the country illegally.
“With inclement weather conditions and approaching storms, smuggling in the maritime domain will increase the dangers at sea and on the shoreline,” Douglas Harrison, San Diego Sector’s chief patrol agent, said in a Tuesday statement. “It is not worth putting your life into the hands of exploitive and indifferent smugglers.”