Crime & Justice

El Segundo police arrest illegal immigrants who arrived on a smuggling boat

El Segundo beach.
El Segundo beach.

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A boat carrying 20 immigrants landed in El Segundo — pretty far north of Tijuana, where the smuggling boat allegedly began its journey. The vessel prompted an emergency call at about 6:45 a.m. Wednesday morning.

El Segundo Police got the 911 call telling them that a fishing boat had come ashore, and that its occupants were running away from the scene.

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It was a rare sight for El Segundo, located almost 150 miles north along the coast from Tijuana. Typically, boats full of drugs or migrants launch from that port in precarious sailing conditions.

Some people pay up to $6,000 to get illegally into the United States by boat.

Officers arrested 20 people and turned them over to the U.S. Border Patrol. That agency is investigating the incident.

Officials say they’ve intercepted 26 smuggling attempts in the ocean off Los Angeles County. That’s seven times fewer arrests than in San Diego County.

But as security has tightened along the mainland border, the number of people willing to smuggle and be smuggled by sea has grown exponentially in the last 10 years.

The passengers included 15 Mexican men, along with three Mexican women, a Salvadoran man and a woman from China.