Border Patrol officials said a resident called authorities around 6:30 a.m. and reported seeing a panga-style fishing boat in the area. The boat was located on the beach in the Crystal Cove State Park area, police said.
Authorities said they found four men who had taken off from the panga boat and hid in some nearby brush. They were detained and transported to a nearby Border Patrol facility for processing. All of the men are Mexican nationals, authorities said.
Border Patrol officials said they believe there were another four to five people who were aboard the boat at one point. Authorities searched by air and ground, and police also used a drone to look for the others who may have taken off into the park trails across from the ocean. The search was eventually called off around 10 a.m.
El Morro Elementary School was placed on a soft lockdown for a couple of hours as authorities searched for additional people linked to the boat.
Just last Monday, a panga boat was found further south of the Tuesday's location. The previous incident was believed to be tied to human smuggling.