Capsized Boat Found in Pescadero May Belong to Smugglers (18 United States Code 545 and 1590)

The U.S. Coast Guard found a capsized boat close to Pigeon Cove. The 18-20 foot motor craft may be a sign that the original passengers were either people or drugs being smuggled into the U.S. illegally.  Of course, there are 2 separate laws that prohibit each of these federal crimes.

Smuggling any kind of goods or “merchandise contrary to law” into the United States (18 United States Code 545).  If convicted, you may face up to 20 years in federal prison.  U.S. federal drug trafficking penalties range anywhere from 5 years to life and hefty fines, depending on the drug in question.

Human trafficking and use of “force, fraud, or deception” of persons “with the aim of exploiting them” to be tantamount to modern slavery (18 United States Code 1590).  In fact, airport workers in Oakland, San Francisco, and one other city recently completed training that will allow them to more readily identify potential victims of child sex trafficking.  Prison sentences for human trafficking now range from 15 years to life and fines have reached up to $1,5000,000.

No one knows whether or not the capsized boat found in Pescadero was used in a human or drug trafficking scheme (18 United States Code 924), but local law enforcement officials are always on the lookout for these kinds of clues (CA Penal Code .  They claim that trafficking of both sorts has become ever more problematic.  In fact, Greg Stump (Coast Guard Captain) has been reported by local news outlets as having said, “this kind of smuggling activity helps fund violent international criminal organizations, threatens the safety of law-abiding citizens at sea and ashore, and contributes to the supply of illegal drugs on our streets.”