An abandoned panga-style boat that may have been used for human smuggling was discovered early Monday on a beach in Carlsbad, authorities said.
An individual spotted the 18-foot vessel at Tamarack State Beach and reported it to authorities about 4:40 a.m., U.S. Customs and Border Protection spokesman Ralph DeSio said.
The boat was abandoned when agents found it. Five fuel canisters were left aboard the vessel, and eight life jackets had been tossed nearby, DeSio said.
“Border Patrol agents are treating this as a maritime smuggling event and are searching the area,” DeSio said. “There are no arrests at this time.”
It is unclear where the boat originated or how many people may have been aboard.
A similar boat came ashore in Laguna Beach in November, and Border Patrol agents took nine people into custody, seven of whom were believed to be immigrants smuggled into the country illegally.
The small speedboats have also been used by smugglers to move drugs into the country.