Published: Jul 29, 2010 12:27 AM EDT
Updated: Jul 28, 2010 9:29 PM EDT

PUNTA RASSA, Fla. - A boat found with over 500 gallons of gas has sparked an investigation into an illegal human smuggling operation.

The incident began about 4 a.m. Wednesday, when deputies saw an outbound boat near Punta Rassa.

Lee County deputies and US Customs and Border Patrol attempted to contact the driver of the boat, who later fled and crashed the 33 foot vessel into a pier of the Captiva tower near Sanibel Harbor Resort and Spa.

The suspect jumped off the boat and fled.

Lee County deputies spent two hours searching for the suspect, but he was never located.

On the boat, deputies found fifteen 30 gallon containers of gasoline and a bladder with another 100 gallons of gas.

Deputies say this is consistent with human smuggling operations.