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Update: Smugglers' Boat Washes up on Dockweiler Beach

Authorities find empty panga boat.

Update: Thursday 10:52 a.m.

An unoccupied panga boat washed up overturned near Tower 42 of Dockweiler State Beach on Thursday at 6:55 a.m., according to the Marina del Rey sheriff’s station.

L.A. County lifeguards and sheriff deputies discovered a trail of footprints leading from the waterline to a beach exit-point. They conducted a search of the area, but found nothing and no one. 

Pangas often wash up on Southern California’s shores and are primarily used to smuggle drugs or people. The boats are open-bowed vessels used for fishing in many parts of Mexico, Central America and the rest of the World. 

Human and drug smuggling incidents were once more common in San Diego County, but in the last few years, have slowly crept north to Orange, Los Angeles and Ventura counties. 

In April, authorities arrested three drug smugglers off the Malibu coast that were attempting to smuggle marijuana into U.S. shores. The pot was valued at more than $1 million. 

Since October 2011, over 11,345 pounds of marijuana and 51 people have been apprehended in smuggling operations, according to Immigrations and Customs Enforcement. 

In November 2011, 4,000 pounds of marijuana were recovered near Abalone Cove in Rancho Palos Verdes and 13 people were arrested. 

The panga boat found at Dockweiler on Thursday has been seized as evidence and the case is being handled in conjunction with the U.S. Coast Guard and Customs and Border Protection.

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