By Sarah Barchus
Two Mexicans men were charged Monday in the Sunday death of a Coast Guard officer who was fatally injured after confronting suspected smugglers off the coast of California, the United States attorney's office said, the New York Times reported.
Jose Meija-Leyva and Manuel Beltran-Higuera were arrested from a panga boat that rammed into Chief Petty Officer Terrell Horne III's vessel, knocking him into the water where he hit his head on the propeller. Horne was pronounced dead when he arrived at the hospital, the Cable News Network reported.
The men were held without bail and made their first appearance in court on Monday, the New York Times reported. The preliminary hearing is scheduled for Dec. 17 and the arraignment will be on Dec. 21, CNN reported.
Early Sunday, a Coast Guard patrol saw a panga, a 25 to 45-foot-long engine powered work boat, off Santa Cruz Island and alerted the Cutter Halibut, an 87-foot-long patrol boat. The Halibut crew approached the panga in a smaller boat after they saw that it was "operating with no lights," CCN reported.
The panga rammed into the smaller boat, knocking Horne and another into the water, and fled. Both men were recovered by their fellow crewmembers and taken to the hospital where Horne was pronounced dead and the other was treated for minor injuries, CNN reported.
After three attempts and the release of pepper spray, the Coast Guard arrested the two men on the panga who said they were transporting gasoline, CNN reported.
According to the criminal complaint, the two men illegally entered the United States from Mexico, CNN reported.