Beached panga boat near Malibu sparks human smuggling investigation

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Officials unload a panga boat that came ashore on Aug. 26, 2011 near Leo Carrillo State Park in Malibu. 

Authorities suspect a panga boat discovered Tuesday morning south of Mugu Rock near Malibu was used for human trafficking, Ventura County sheriff’s officials confirmed. Homeland Security officials reportedly detained six people shortly after the boat was discovered, the Ventura County Star reported. 

A motorist reported the beached panga boat to the Coast Guard at 6:30 a.m. on Aug. 27. Officers from the Ventura County Sheriff’s Department arrived by about 7 a.m., where they located the panga boat at the scene, Captain Don Aguilar told The Malibu Times. Upon locating the boat, officials found indicators that the panga may have been used for human smuggling, and called in Immigration and Customs Enforcement. The case is now being investigated by Immigration and Customs Enforcement. 

This is the second time in recent weeks that an incident with a panga boat occurred near Malibu. On Aug. 15, Coast Guard officials intercepted a panga boat carrying marijuana off the coast near Leo Carrillo State Beach.