Undocumented immigrants detained after boat washes ashore in Laguna Beach

Posted at 5:21 PM, Nov 29, 2018

Nine undocumented immigrants were detained Thursday after a small panga boat landed in Laguna Beach, California, according to police.

Seven people who came off the boat were detained, the Laguna Beach Police Department said, in addition to 2 drivers who were in what police described as "take-away" vehicles waiting to pick the migrants up.

All 9 are undocumented, according a spokesman for the US Customs and Border Patrol, and their countries of origin are unknown.

A panga is a boat often used for working off the coast of Mexico or Central America, according to the US Coast Guard. The engine-powered vessels are typically 25 to 45 feet long.

They're also popular for smuggling, according to Theron Francisco, a border patrol spokesman.

Laguna Beach police said there were actually a total of 13 individuals who came ashore in the boat. The department shared a video on its Twitter page that appeared to be shot from a nearby balcony, showing the group pulling the panga boat out of the surf before making their way up the beach.

Similar incidents played out in the area earlier this year.

On June 19, another panga boat came ashore in Crystal Cove State Park, just north of Laguna Beach, police said in a press release at the time. Four men were detained by CBP following a multi-agency search of the area, Laguna Beach police said.

And in May, 10 undocumented immigrants were arrested after their panga boat came ashore in La Jolla outside San Diego, according to CNN affiliate KGTV.

Thursday's detentions took place as thousands of Central American migrants seeking asylum in the United States are waiting in the Mexican border city of Tijuana.