San Diego - A collaborative effort between officers of the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) and Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agents resulted in the arrest of 23 foreign nationals early yesterday morning off the San Diego coastline.
At about 2:45 a.m., Coast Guard officers patrolling the San Diego coastline aboard the USCG cutter Edisto notified law enforcement members of the Maritime Unified Command of a suspicious vessel on a northbound course from Mexican waters that was traveling with no visible navigation lights. CBP marine interdiction agents quickly responded to the reported area about 3 ½ miles west of Point Loma.
At about 3 a.m., CBP marine interdiction agents and Coast Guard officers moved in to intercept the vessel. The 23 adult males who were onboard were detained and transported to Point Loma where they were brought ashore and turned over to U.S. Border Patrol agents for evaluation and processing.
Border Patrol agents determined that all of the individuals had entered the United States illegally and placed them under arrest. The group consisted of one Peruvian national, one Guatemalan national and 21 Mexican nationals. An investigation is currently being conducted to identify and prosecute the individuals responsible for this smuggling attempt.
The Maritime Unified Command,(MUC) comprised of the U.S. Coast Guard, CBP, ICE, as well as state and local law enforcement partners operating in the San Diego and Orange County maritime domain, 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.