Terrell Horne III, of Redondo Beach, was pronounced dead after being brought ashore at the Port of Hueneme, Ventura County chief deputy medical examiner James Baroni said. He suffered a traumatic head injury in the crash before dawn, Coast Guard officials said.
The second man was treated for minor injuries. His name wasn't released.
The smuggler's panga, which was running without lights, maneuvered at a high rate of speed directly at the small boat before fleeing, according to a Coast Guard statement. Both Coast Guard members were thrown into the water.
Another Coast Guard vessel stopped the fleeing panga, and detained two suspects.
"Our fallen shipmate stood the watch on the front lines protecting our nation, and we are all indebted to him for his service and sacrifice," said Admiral Robert J. Papp, Coast Guard Commandant.
The small Coast Guard boat was deployed by the cutter Halibut, which was conducting an investigation into suspected smuggling near the Channel Islands west of Malibu.
The smuggler's vessel was initially detected by a Coast Guard maritime patrol aircraft.