Shore pick up crews also arrested
San Diego — Agents from Customs and Border Protection’s Office of Air and Marine (OAM) and the U.S Border Patrol intercepted a maritime drug smuggling attempt on the beach of Del Mar, Calif., early this morning and netted hundreds of pounds of marijuana and resulted in the arrest of shore based pick up crews.
U.S. Border Patrol agents detected a panga boat at approximately 3:00 a.m., off the coast of Del Mar. A CBP Office of Air and Marine (OAM) Blackhawk helicopter was deployed to assist Border Patrol agents in the area. Marine Interdiction Agents on an OAM vessel was sent to intercept the panga.
The panga boat came ashore about an hour later in the vicinity of Seventh Street in Del Mar. OAM deployed a tactical team member from the helicopter and apprehended one of the panga operators. Another panga operator was also later found in the area and arrested.
Marine Interdiction Agents discovered the panga loaded with 41 bundles of marijuana. The marijuana weighed a total of 878 pounds with an estimated street value of $526,000.
Border Patrol agents searched the area and located one box truck and one other vehicle associated with this smuggling event.
A total of 10 individuals were taken into custody and were transported to a Border Patrol station for processing. The drugs, panga and two vehicles were turned over to OAM. The incident is being investigated by agents from the San Diego Marine Task Force.
CBP works in collaboration with other law enforcement agencies on a federal, state and local level to address the maritime threat along with Southern California coast. These agencies form Regional Coordinating Mechanisms (ReCoMs) which increase homeland security by eliminating transnational crime along the coast.
If you have information about maritime smuggling or suspicious activity along the coast of California, please contact the Joint Harbor Operations Center at (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.