Carlsbad, Calif. - A collaborative effort between U.S. Customs and Border Protection's (CBP) Office of Air and Marine and U.S. Border Patrol prevented a maritime smuggling attempt early this morning as 20 foreign nationals who illegally entered the country were arrested at Carlsbad State Beach.
At about 1 a.m., the San Diego Coastal Border Enforcement Team (CBET) comprised of U.S. Border Patrol agents and CBP officers were on patrol along the coastline spotted a panga boat at sea near the shores of Carlsbad State Beach.
CBET responded to the area shortly after the boat reached the shore and apprehended seven people. A CBP helicopter crew assisted agents in a search of the surrounding area resulting in the arrest of an additional 10 people.
The panga, with two occupants aboard, attempted to flee towards Mexico. A CBP Air and Marine plane and boat responded and detected and stopped the panga.
In addition, Border Patrol agents noticed a van waiting near the beach and arrested the driver, a Mexican national, suspected of being involved with the smuggling attempt.
The total arrested in this smuggling incident was comprised 19 males and one female. All were adults and Mexican nationals except one male from Ecuador. All individuals were in the United States illegally. Agents transported the group to a local Border Patrol station for processing. An investigation is being conducted to identify and prosecute the individuals responsible for this smuggling attempt.
The interdiction was part of a coordinated effort by member agencies of the San Diego Maritime Unified Command. The San Diego Maritime Unified Command, comprised of CBP, ICE, the Coast Guard, and other law enforcement partners, is an all-threats multi-agency approach to maritime law enforcement operating in the San Diego and Orange County coastal region.
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.