CBP Intercepts Panga Boat with 19 illegal Aliens on board off the coast of Dana Point
SAN DIEGO – Crews from U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Air and Marine Operations (AMO) intercepted a panga boat with 19 illegal aliens on board off the coast of Dana Point, on Friday.
At about 12:48 a.m. on August 7, a crew aboard a multi-role enforcement aircraft (MEA) spotted a single engine panga-style vessel traveling northbound out of Mexican territorial waters with no navigational lights on and with multiple persons on board. As the boat continued moving northbound into U.S. territorial waters the MEA crew continued updating position, course and speed of the suspected vessel.
At about 3:30 a.m., the MEA crew directed a San Diego Marine Unit Coastal Interceptor Vessel (CIV) to the location of the panga boat about 11 nautical miles west of Dana Point. Without further incident, marine interdiction agents took all 19 individuals, all whom claimed to be Mexican nationals, into custody aboard the CIV. Of the 19 individuals detained, 18 were adult males and one adult female.
“This interception exemplifies the unique air and sea coordination, vigilance and law enforcement capabilities of our highly skilled interdiction agents in keeping our coastal border safe,” said Timothy Sutherland, AMO San Diego Air and Marine Branch. “The combination of expertise, technology and training were the key for the success of this operation.”
With the assistance of U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) Cutter Halibut the group was transported to Dana Point Harbor, where the 19 people were turned over to the U.S. Border Patrol for processing; agents confirmed the subjects were Mexican nationals with no legal status to enter the U.S. The subjects were transported to the nearest Border Patrol Station for the final processing and removal from the U.S.
The San Diego Air and Marine Branch Marine Unit seized the panga.
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.
The Regional Coordinating Mechanism (ReCoM) is comprised of the U.S. Coast Guard, CBP’s Office of Air and Marine, Office of Field Operations, U.S. Border Patrol, Immigration and Customs Enforcement Homeland Security Investigations and state and local law enforcement partners operating in Southern California. ReCoM coordinates planning and operations to target the threat of transnational crime along the 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 official ports of entry. CBP is charged with securing the borders of the United States while enforcing hundreds of laws and facilitating lawful trade and travel.