U.S. Customs and Border Patrol agents intercepted an attempt to smuggle 17 Mexican nationals, who were trying to enter the U.S. illegally via a panga boat near Catalina Island, off the coast of Long Beach, California.
All 17 people were arrested and taken into custody by law enforcement in Los Angeles County. Two suspects have been charged with smuggling and will be prosecuted by the U.S. attorney’s office, according to NBC Los Angeles.
Around the same time the panga was discovered, the Coast Guard received an anonymous, false report by the same smuggling operation which was meant to distract the Coast Guard. They claimed a second suspected panga was trying to enter the U.S. shoreline.
Human trafficking and smuggling has been a hotly contested issue in the administration for years. In the beginning of this year, the Obama Administration came under fire for allegedly aiding in the smuggling of children of illegal immigrants across the U.S. border.
Photo: Border Patrol