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Statement in Response to an Incident Off the Coast of Southern California

Release Date: 
June 18, 2015

While on patrol aboard a marine interceptor vessel, Marine Interdiction Agents from U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Office of Air and Marine, encountered a suspected smuggling vessel off the California coast near Encinitas in the early morning hours, Pacific Standard Time. Agents hailed and ordered the suspected smuggler piloting the vessel to yield. After failing to yield, warning shots were fired. After the suspected smuggling vessel failed to comply, the two vessels collided. The smuggler’s vessel capsized, resulting in 20 people going into the water. Agents pulled everyone out of the water and immediately began administering CPR to one woman who was unresponsive.  U.S. Coast Guard responded to airlift the woman from the CBP vessel; she was later pronounced dead by medical authorities.  Agents called for local emergency medical personnel and brought the remaining 19 people to the dock, where all received medical care. Of the 19, four were transported to a local area hospital with non-life threatening injuries. All 20 people are suspected of attempting to enter the country illegally.  Additional CBP Air and Marine and U.S. Coast Guard vessels are at the location to recover any additional cargo from the capsized smuggler vessel. CBP is investigating the incident.


Hail is a law enforcement term for utilizing all available means of signaling (e.g., visual, audible, radio contact, etc.) by a law enforcement vessel to compel another vessel to stop and submit to their authority.

Last modified: 
February 8, 2017