SAN DIEGO – Monday, Marine Interdiction Agents with the U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Office of Air and Marine (OAM), the Border Patrol, and Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) discovered two personal craft vessels loaded with marijuana totaling more than 1,270 pounds, valued at approximately $766,000. These agencies, and others, are members of the San Diego Regional Coordinating Mechanism (ReCoM) which targets the threat of transnational crime along the coastal border.
The incident occurred at around 3:30 p.m., after OAM agents patrolling Mission Bay in San Diego in a marked patrol vessel came across a 29-foot Amato vessel heading towards the Dana Landing boat ramp with two men onboard. The OAM vessel stopped the Amato in order to perform a documents inspection.
During the inspection, agents noticed an anomaly in the deck of the vessel, the agents summoned a Border Patrol Detection Canine Team to the vessel to conduct a canine sniff. The team’s check produced a positive alert to the vessel resulting in a closer examination.
Agents discovered, below the deck of the vessel, 104 packages of marijuana that had a total weight of 956 pounds. A third individual nearby was also arrested in connection with the Amato.
During a search of the area the Border Patrol Detection Canine Team produced a positive alert on a second vessel.
Agents examined the vessel and discovered an aftermarket compartment concealed in the deck that held 109 packages of marijuana. The marijuana weighed 321 pounds.
“This concerted effort demonstrates our ability to work seamlessly with our partners to combat maritime smuggling by transnational criminal organizations,” said Jeremy Thompson, Director, Marine Operations at the San Diego Air and Marine Branch.
The three men, the two vessels and marijuana were turned over to HSI agents for processing.
Earlier that day a Coast Guard patrol boat made contact with a boat that went aground near Ballast Point with five persons onboard who were illegally in the country. The persons, four men and one woman, all Mexican nationals, were turned over to the 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.