San Clemente, Calif. - Today, California National Guard troops supporting the U.S. Border Patrol assisted in the arrest of 18 Mexican nationals on the coastline of San Onofre State Park early this morning after they were smuggled into the country by boat.
At approximately 5:30 a.m., guardsmen assigned to pre-designated detection sites along the southern California coastline spotted a person on an oceanfront cliff in San Onofre State Park scanning the water with a flashlight. CNG observed a panga style boat travelling eastbound toward the shoreline, and alerted Border Patrol agents assigned to the north county Coastal Border Enforcement Team.
Agents observed several individuals disembark from the beached boat and run to the nearby cliffs. Agents responded and encountered a total of eighteen individuals hiding along the cliffs. The group of 14 males, one female, and three juvenile males were determined to be Mexican nationals who had entered the U.S. illegally.
The Mexican nationals were arrested and transported to a local Border Patrol station for processing and further investigation. Agents identified two of the arrested individuals as being responsible for the smuggling attempt. They are being held in federal custody pending prosecution for alien smuggling. The boat was seized by the U.S. Border Patrol.
The U.S. Border Patrol is a member agency of the Maritime Unified Command. The MUC is comprised of the U.S. Coast Guard, CBP's Office of Air & Marine and U.S. Border Patrol, ICE and state and local law enforcement partners operating in the San Diego and Orange County maritime domain. The MUC utilizes the fusion of intelligence, planning and operations to target the threat of transnational crime along the 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 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.