Drug smugglers or human traffickers may have abandoned a capsized boat found off the coast of Pescadero in San Mateo County on Monday, U.S. Coast Guard officials said Tuesday.
The Coast Guard was notified of the capsized vessel at about 11 a.m. Monday near Pigeon Cove and rescue crews were dispatched to find anyone possibly in distress.
No one was located after a search by air and sea. Law enforcement officials concluded that smugglers could have been using the boat, according to the Coast Guard.
The 18- to 20-foot boat is similar to a panga, an open-hull fishing vessel capable of rapid travel in the open seas that is commonly used by smugglers, according to the Coast Guard.
The Coast Guard said that Mexican smugglers have recently been traveling farther up the California Coast to avoid patrols.
“This smuggling activity helps fund violent international criminal organizations,” Coast Guard Sector San Francisco commander Capt. Greg Stump said in a statement. “We’re asking the public to help us stop smuggling by reporting any suspicious activity.”