CARLSBAD, CALIF.—U.S. Border Patrol agents intercepted a maritime smuggling attempt at a southern California beach early this morning and confiscated nearly 3,000 pounds of marijuana.
Border Patrol agents assigned to coastal enforcement duties in Northern San Diego County observed three men in a panga boat at about 2:30 a.m., near Ponto State Beach. When agents approached the panga, the three men jumped into the water and attempted to flee. Two of the men subsequently swam to shore and were arrested.
Agents boarded the panga and discovered 108 bundles of marijuana. The bundles weighed a total of 2,938 pounds and had an estimated street value of $4,407,000.
U.S. Border Patrol San Diego Sector Chief Patrol Agent Paul Beeson stated, "This recent seizure is another example of how strategic partnerships amongst California law enforcement agencies are able to address various schemes of illegal activity, including maritime smuggling along the California coast. This multi-agency effort prevented the suspects from furthering their criminal intent to distribute almost 3,000 pounds of narcotics here in the U.S."
The two arrested men were determined to be Mexican nationals and were taken to a local hospital for medical treatment. They were released from the hospital into the custody of the U.S. Border Patrol. The panga, the marijuana, and two suspects have been turned over to maritime task-force agents for further investigation.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the Office of Air and Marine, the U.S. Coast Guard, San Diego County Lifeguards, the San Diego County Sherriff's Department, and the Carlsbad Police Department have deployed assets to assist in the search for the third subject, who has not been located as of publish time.
If you have information about maritime smuggling or suspicious activity along the coast of California, please contact the San Diego Sector Border Patrol dispatch at (619) 498-9900.
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.