San Diego - U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents stopped a boat with 22 illegal immigrants attempting to flee from law enforcement officials Wednesday off the coast of San Diego.
On December 2, at about 2:30 a.m., the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Sea Otter spotted a suspicious 25-foot blue and white panga boat about 8 miles west of Leucadia, Calif., and called it in to CBP for assistance when the boat began fleeing southward.
From CBP, a Blackhawk helicopter responded and directed CBP's Midnight Express Interceptor vessel to the boat's location. As they approached with lights on and sirens sounding, CBP agents clearly called for the boat to stop, but the driver failed to respond or slow down. After a short chase, the vessel was stopped about 14 nautical miles west of La Jolla.
On board the panga, CBP agents found 22 persons - 21 men and one woman - all wearing personal flotation devices. All are Mexican citizens in the United States illegally.
Agents took the boat's driver into custody, and turned him over to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. The remaining illegal immigrants were turned over to U.S. Border Patrol for processing.
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.