Dana Point, Calif. - U.S. Customs and Border Protection marine interdiction agents stopped a private pleasure boat Saturday off the coast of southern California with almost 500 pounds of marijuana hidden on board.
On July 9th, CBP marine interdiction agents conducted a routine boarding of a 23-foot Neptune cuddy cabin vessel near Dana Point, Calif. Dana Point is located on the coast of Southern California, between San Clemente and Laguna Beach, about 60 miles south of Los Angeles.
On board, agents discovered multiple hidden compartments in the vessel with packages concealed inside. Agents brought the vessel and two male passengers to shore for a more intensive examination.
Working with Border Patrol agents and members of the Los Angeles Border Enforcement Security Team or LA BEST, a multi-agency task force led by U.S. Immigration and Customs and Enforcement, the agents found 55 bundles of marijuana hidden throughout the vessel. In total, the marijuana weighed almost 500 pounds, with an estimated street value of about $300,000.
Agents also discovered two more men at a nearby dock with a vehicle and trailer, waiting for the boat to arrive. The two additional men were also taken into custody.
The incident is being investigated by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's Homeland Security Investigations. ICE HSI is presenting the four suspects detained Saturday for federal prosecution. In addition to the prosecution, ICE HSI will also seek to seize the vessel, vehicle, and trailer.
The San Diego Air and Marine Branch of U.S. Customs and Border Protection is a member of the Maritime Unified Command. The Maritime Unified Command is comprised of the U.S. Coast Guard, CBP Office of Air & Marine, CBP Office of Field Operations, CBP Border Patrol, ICE, as well as state and local law enforcement partners operating in the San Diego and Orange County maritime domain. The Maritime Unified Command utilizes the fusion of intelligence, planning and operations to target the threat of transnational crime along the southern California coastal border.
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.