Laguna Beach police said they spotted and followed about 12 people on board the boat between 4 and 6 a.m., until it got lost in the marine layer.
Authorities said the passengers ditched the boat and fled upon getting to shore in the Crystal Cove State Park area. Authorities said it was believed to be a human smuggling incident.
Laguna Beach police and border protection officers searched for the suspects but did not find anyone. The search was terminated by 10 a.m.
Panga Landing update information as of 0735 hours: This is believed to be a human smuggling event. CBET-N is on scene and is coordinating the removal of the panga boat from the beach. The subjects remain outstanding and are believed to have left the area. @LagunaBeachPD— Laguna Beach PD PIO (@LBPD_PIO_45) June 11, 2018
The suspects remain at large, and the panga boat was being removed from the beach as an investigation continued.
This is the panga boat Border Patrol agents say their chopper saw early this morning with about 12 people aboard, in what’s believed to be a human smuggling event. pic.twitter.com/0W4Fkz4pU3— Greg Lee (@abc7greg) June 11, 2018