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Illegal immigrants smuggled into Newport Beach on boat, authorities say

December 29, 2010 |  7:09 am

A panga lies abandoned at Crystal Cove State Beach where eight to 10 people reportedly came ashore and scattered. The boat, used for fishing, drew looks from beach-goers as U.S. Customs and Border Patrol agents investigate the case.

Authorities believe that a boat found at Crystal Cove State Park was used to smuggle illegal immigrants.

According to U.S. Customs and Border Patrol officials , eight to 10 people reportedly came ashore on a small boat, then shed their life jackets and some clothes as they scattered about the area. Officials said the group was aboard a panga boat, a type of open-hulled Mexican fishing boat frequently used in coastal smuggling.

About 7 a.m. Tuesday, a visitor at Moro Beach, one of the beaches at Crystal Cove, called police to report the incident. The person was not able to identify the ethnicity of anyone in the group, saying only that they pulled ashore and ran in several different directions.

Immigration authorities received a report of a second boat seen motoring back southward from the beach minutes after the first boat was found on the sand, said Border Patrol spokesman Lt. Michael Jimenez.

Read the full story here.

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-- Joseph Serna, Daily Pilot / Times Community News

Photo: A panga boat lies abandoned at Crystal Cove State Beach, where eight to 10 people reportedly came ashore and scattered. The boat drew looks from beach-goers as U.S. Customs and Border Patrol agents investigated the case. Credit: Times Community News

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