San Diego, Calif. - U.S. Border Patrol agents arrested three male Mexican nationals on Saturday morning for smuggling more than 1,500 pounds of marijuana inside a panga-style boat.
At about 4 a.m., California National Guardsmen, in support of U.S. Customs and Border Protection, spotted a boat with three individuals on board traveling without navigation lights along the San Diego County coastline near Camp Pendleton. Agents and guardsmen continued to monitor the boat until the vessel landed near San Onofre State Beach approximately an hour later.
Agents arrested the three men, who were determined to be illegally present in the country as they were unloading 21 bundles of marijuana with a total weight of 1,543.04 pounds and an estimated street value of $925,821.60.
The men, the drugs and the vessel were turned over to the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement-led Marine Task Force for further investigation.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection maintains a strong enforcement posture along the coastal borders to detect and apprehend smugglers of humans, drugs and other contraband and is a member agency of the Maritime Unified Command.
The MUC is a Department of Homeland Security coordinated effort and is comprised of local, state and federal law enforcement partners operating in the San Diego and Orange County maritime domain. The MUC utilizes the fusion of intelligence, planning and operations to target the threat of transnational crime along the Southern California coastal border. To report suspicious maritime activity, call the Joint Harbor Operations Center at 1-800-854-9834.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection is the unified border agency within the Department of Homeland Security charged with the management, control and protection of our nation's borders at and between the official ports of entry. CBP is charged with keeping terrorists and terrorist weapons out of the country while enforcing hundreds of U.S. laws.