Suspected illegal migrants come ashore in Orange County Witness reports seeing eight to 10 people disembark at Crystal Cove State Park and scatter. By Joseph Serna, Los Angeles Times December 30, 2010 Authorities are investigating reports that eight to 10 people came ashore at Crystal Cove State Park in a small boat, then shed their life jackets and some clothes before scattering. Border patrol officials said the group was aboard a panga boat, a type of open-hulled Mexican fishing boat frequently used in coastal smuggling. They arrived at the beach south of Newport Beach on Tuesday at about 7 a.m. 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 different directions. Immigration authorities received a report of a second boat seen motoring south from the beach minutes after the first boat was found on the sand, said Border Protection spokesman Agent Michael Jimenez. An Orange County Sheriff's Department Harbor Patrol boat and helicopter converged on the area but didn't find anyone, said Sheriff's Lt. Jim England. The incident is part of a new trend authorities are seeing in human and drug smuggling from Mexico and points farther south, said Lauren Mack, of San Diego County's Immigration and Customs Enforcement office. It was the third suspected smuggling incident this year to stretch as far north as Orange County, she said. In the last two to three years, as land-based border enforcement has increased, smugglers have headed out to sea with greater frequency. In the past, the boats would blend in with summer vacationers or recreational sailors, but now their methods are more bold and dangerous, Mack said. Smugglers load the panga boats with 25 to 30 people and rely only on their global positioning systems to navigate, Mack said. Human trafficking: Panga boat reported to have come ashore in Orange County - latimes.com ------------------------------------------------------------- Where's the US Navy? Why do we spend BILLIONS on a military force that does not protect the United States and American citizens?