CBP Seizes Almost 500 Pounds of Marijuana from Pleasure Boat Docked at San Diego Campground
SAN DIEGO — Marine interdiction agents seized almost 500 pounds of marijuana Sunday hidden on a pleasure boat. The agents with U.S. Customs and Border Protection Office of Air and Marine also arrested three people in connection with the alleged smuggling attempt.
At about 3 p.m. on Sept. 6, marine interdiction agents on patrol around Mission Bay in San Diego spotted the vessel, and went to the campground where the boat eventually docked.
Marine interdiction agents requested assistance from a U.S. Border Patrol agent with a narcotic detection K-9 to screen the vessel. The dog alerted.
Marine interdiction agents then physically searched the boat and found non-manufactured compartments in the berthing area of the vessel. Upon further inspection, agents discovered numerous packages that appeared to contain marijuana.
In total, agents removed 95 bundles from the vessel, containing 482.46 pounds of marijuana, with an estimated street value of about $290,000.
Agents took custody of three people associated with the alleged smuggling attempt, and turned them over to U.S. Border Patrol agents for processing. Special agents with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Homeland Security Investigations who are assigned to the San Diego Marine Task Force are investigating the incident.
All three persons were booked into the San Diego Metropolitan Correctional Center and will face federal charges. They are all male Mexican citizens, ages 19, 22, and 55. One is a legal permanent resident of the U.S., and the other two hold Border Crossing Cards.
CBP marine interdiction agents seized the marijuana and the vessel in question, as well as the truck and trailer used to tow the vessel.
“CBP marine interdiction agents have a unique set of techniques that combine their law enforcement expertise with expert maritime knowledge, and they used the full range of those tools to apprehend these alleged smugglers,” said Jeremy Thompson, Director of Marine Operations for CBP in San Diego. “With that said, we can always use the public’s help as well. If you see something suspicious at a local dock in San Diego, please contact authorities.”
If you have information about maritime smuggling or suspicious activity along the coast of California, please contact Joint Harbor Operations Center (JHOC) at 1-800-854-9834 or 911.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection in collaboration with other federal, state, and local law-enforcement agencies coordinates operations through the Regional Coordinating Mechanism (ReCoM) to address transnational maritime threats along the Southern California coast. The ReCoM mission is to increase homeland security by eliminating transnational crime along the coast. The JHOC in San Diego is the tactical command center for ReCoM.
Learn more about the CBP Office of Air and Marine.
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.