Three men accused of trying to smuggle roughly two tons of marijuana onto the beaches of Malibu in a panga-style boat were charged Tuesday in federal court.
Carlos Millan-Rogel, Jesus Aaron Guevara-Moreno and Victor Ayala-Marin face a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years in prison if convicted, according to the U.S. attorney's office.
A 20-page affidavit filed with the complaint says the three men were caught by authorities Monday morning on the sand at Leo Carrillo State Park in Malibu where the boat was found washed up on the sand, leaking gas and smelling strongly of marijuana.
Guevara-Moreno was spotted by a park ranger near the boat, soaking wet, with sand on his face clutching two cellphones. He told the ranger he was out jogging, but as the officer questioned him, he began visibly shaking. The other two men were later detained about 400 yards from the boat.
Two of the men later told authorities they had sailed with the boat from Rosarito, Mexico, on Sunday evening and knew it contained marijuana, the affadavit said.
Guevara-Moreno allegedly told authorities that he feared drug smugglers would harm his mother if he did not do as they asked.
Millan-Rogel, said he was paid $2,000 to make the journey, and needed the money to support his family.
The third man, Ayala-Marin, said he had paid smugglers to get him into the United States and he was called last week and offered a spot on the boat.
Thom Mrozek, spokesman for the U.S. attorney's office, said the men were not asked to enter pleas Tuesday.
Pangas have become popular among smugglers to ferry both people and drugs up the California coastline. The panga in Malibu was discovered just days after another vessel, with 17 passengers, was spotted bobbing in the water of the Palos Verdes Peninsula on Friday.