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San Diego Maritime Unified Command Foils Several Recent Smuggling Attempts

Release Date: 
April 7, 2011

San Diego - The San Diego Maritime Unified Command (MUC) is comprised of the U.S. Coast Guard, Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Office of Air & Marine, CBP Office of Field Operations, CBP U.S. Border Patrol, ICE, as well as state and local law enforcement partners operating in the San Diego and Orange County maritime domain. The following is a summary of MUC activities over the past several days. This is only a macro view of each incident and an invitation to contact the San Diego Sector Border Patrol Information & Communication Division for more information.

740 pounds of marijuana

740 pounds of marijuana smuggled in a panga resulted in nine arrests.

On April 1, California National Guardsmen observed a suspicious 17-foot Bayliner pleasure craft off the coast of Black's Beach in La Jolla, Calif., and directed CBP marine assets to its location. The Bayliner absconded and landed ashore at Moonlight Beach in Encinitas, Calif. U.S. Border Patrol agents responded to the scene and arrested six Mexican nationals who had illegally entered the United States. They were transported to a local Border Patrol station for processing and further investigation. The vessel was seized by the U.S. Border Patrol. One of the vessel occupants has been charged criminally with alien smuggling in the event.

On April 4, U.S. Border Patrol agents observed a panga boat off the coast of Solana Beach, Calif. CBP Air and Marine assets responded, and intercepted the boat approximately one half mile off the coast of the city of Del Mar. Marine interdiction agents detained 15 Mexican nationals and brought them and the panga ashore. U.S. Border Patrol agents on shore took custody of the 14 males and one female ranging in age from 19 to 39, and transported them to a local Border Patrol station for processing and further investigation. The vessel was seized by CBP Air and Marine. Three Mexican nationals arrested during the incident are being charged criminally with alien smuggling.

On April 4, U.S. Border Patrol agents seized an abandoned panga near Dana Point, Calif., with 740 pounds of marijuana onboard. Nine arrests have been made in connection to the maritime drug smuggling incursion. The illegal drugs, vessel, and two vehicles were seized by the U.S. Border Patrol. The incident is currently under investigation.

Panga boat

Panga used to transport 740 pounds of marijuana.

On April 4, CBP Office of Air and Marine Interdiction agents intercepted a 16-foot Chaparral pleasure craft near Shelter Island and arrested four Mexican nationals who had illegally entered the country. They were turned over to U.S. Border Patrol agents and transported to a local Border Patrol station for processing and further investigation. The vessel was seized by CBP Office of Air and Marine. One of the Mexican nationals arrested is being charged criminally with alien smuggling.

On April 5, a U.S. Navy helicopter involved in a training exercise about 20 miles off the coast of Imperial Beach, Calif., reported a panga boat travelling northbound from Mexico. The United States Coast Guard Cutter "Sea Otter" responded and intercepted the boat about 20 miles west of La Jolla, Calif. The Coast Guard detained 14 males and 2 females, and transported them to the Shelter Island Customs dock. U.S. Border Patrol agents arrived on scene and all occupants were Mexican nationals, illegally present in the United States. All subjects were transported to a local Border Patrol station for processing and further investigation. The vessel was seized by CBP Office of Air and Marine. Two of the individuals arrested are being charged criminally with alien smuggling.

The Maritime Unified Command utilizes the fusion of intelligence, planning and operations to target the threat of transnational crime along the coastal border. The MUC also welcomes community assistance. Suspicious maritime activity can be reported by calling the Joint Harbor Operation Center toll free 1-800-854-9834.

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.

Last modified: 
February 9, 2017