San Diego, Calif. - U.S. Border Patrol agents stopped three maritime smuggling attempts over the weekend in San Diego County. Agents arrested 26 illegal aliens, seized a panga, a 40-foot sailboat, and more than $63,000 in smuggling proceeds.
On Sunday evening at approximately 6 p.m., U.S. Border Patrol agents encountered two illegal aliens in a parking lot near Mission Bay. Agents questioned the two subjects who stated that they were smuggled into the country illegally as part of a larger group onboard what was later determined to be a $300,000, 40-foot sailboat. The subjects also stated that the remainder of the group was being held in a nearby hotel room. Agents gained access to the hotel room where five illegal aliens were discovered.
In addition, agents identified the name of the smuggler who rented both the sailboat and the hotel room. The smuggler was taken into custody and is being processed for 8 USC 1324 Alien Smuggling. A total of eight male Mexican nationals and a male Cuban national were arrested. The sailboat and $63,000 in smuggling proceeds were seized.
Two other maritime smuggling attempts were also intercepted over the weekend. The first occurred around 1:00 a.m., early Saturday morning near Imperial Beach, Calif. Agents responded to the coastline and arrested four male Mexican nationals who had been smuggled into the country illegally on two jet skis. The subjects were transported to a local Border Patrol station for processing and interviews.
Another apprehension occurred on Saturday, at about 4 a.m., when California National Guard stationed along the California coastal border spotted a panga style boat approach Torrey Pines State Beach. U.S. Border Patrol agents responded to the scene, where eleven male Mexican nationals were taken into custody. CBP Marine Interdiction agents also responded to the scene and stopped the panga boat from returning to sea. Two additional male Mexican nationals were found onboard and arrested. CBP's Office of Air and Marine seized the vessel. All subjects arrested over the weekend were transported to a local U.S. Border Patrol station for processing.
CBP maintains a strong enforcement posture on the coastal borders to detect, apprehend, and deter smugglers of humans, drugs and other contraband. CBP is a participating law enforcement agency within the Maritime Unified Command, a collaborative law enforcement effort between local, state and federal agencies operating in the San Diego maritime domain. During Fiscal Year 2010, the Maritime Unified Command was responsible for the arrests of 867 foreign nationals from maritime smuggling attempts in the San Diego region. The San Diego Sector Border Patrol's strategy is to disrupt, dismantle, and defeat targeted transnational threats operating within the San Diego Sector area of influence to affect increased operational control of the 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.