28 Arrested During 2 Foiled Maritime Smuggling Events
SAN DIEGO — U.S. Border Patrol (USBP) agents assisted in the arrest of 28 people during two separate incursions along the California coastline.
The first incident occurred on Sunday, at approximately 6:30 p.m., when agents were notified by a concerned citizen of a suspicious vessel in San Diego Bay, near Coronado.
Agents made contact with the vessel and determined that all 11 people on-board were unlawfully present in the U.S. Nine of the boat’s occupants were Mexican nationals, one was a Guatemalan national, and one was a Salvadoran national. All 11 were transported to a nearby USBP station and processed for removal. The vessel was seized by U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s (CBP) Air and Marine Operations (AMO) agents.
The second event happened on Monday at 12:30 a.m., when the U.S. Coast Guard’s Joint Harbor Operation Center notified AMO’s marine interdiction agents (MIAs) about a suspicious vessel off the coast of downtown San Diego.
MIAs met the vessel at the Shelter Island boat dock and discovered 14 people on-board who were illegally present in the U.S. Three other people were discovered nearby with a white pickup truck and boat trailer. The three people were determined to be the pickup crew for the event. The entire group was arrested and consisted of three U.S. citizens, 12 Mexican nationals, and two Guatemalan nationals. All 17 people were taken to a nearby USBP station for processing.
The vessel, truck, and trailer were seized by AMO. The three U.S. citizens were booked on charges of alien smuggling and the 14 foreign nationals were processed for removal.
“We saw a 93 percent increase in maritime apprehensions this past fiscal year, with no signs of slowing yet. As the threat to our coastal border persists, we ask our community stakeholders to please remain vigilant. If you see something, say something,” said Chief Patrol Agent Aaron Heitke.
To prevent the illicit smuggling of humans, drugs, and other contraband, the U.S. Border Patrol maintains a high level of vigilance on corridors of egress away from our Nation’s borders. If you have information about maritime smuggling or suspicious activity along the coast of California, please call the San Diego Joint Harbor Operations Center at 1-800-854-9834 extension 1, or notify local law enforcement by dialing 9-1-1.