Human smuggling along Southern California coast increased during the summer, DHS reports

The Department of Homeland Security is reporting a significant increase in human smuggling along the Southern California coast this summer.

In July, the DHS said it responded to 12 separate smuggling attempts along the coastlines of Los Angeles, Orange and Ventura counties, resulting in the arrest of 90 people entering the country illegally.

Most of the apprehended were men "of diverse nationalities," though they included some women and teenagers.

Although smuggling activity along the coastline is not new, it was usually seen near the country's southwest border, according to Jaime Ruiz of U.S. Customs and Border Protection. Criminal organizations have expanded their area of operations further north due to increased enforcement operations at the border.

Smuggling efforts often use pleasure crafts and panga boats to transport migrants and narcotics into the area, and can charge $15,000 or more per person trafficked, Ruiz said.

"Smuggling along the California coastline is inherently dangerous and criminal organizations are not concerned with public safety," Ruiz said. "They see migrants and narcotics as simply cargo."



City News Service contributed to this report.
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