SAN DIEGO, CA (STL.News) U.S. Customs and Border Protection Air and Marine agents stopped a boat off the coast of San Diego early Thursday morning with 18 people on board trying to illegally enter the U.S.
At about 10:15 p.m. on Wednesday, June 24, the crew of a multirole enforcement aircraft on routine patrol off the coast of San Diego spotted a panga running with no lights, out at sea, leave Mexican territorial waters headed to the U.S. The crew tracked the panga before handing it off to the crew of a second multi-role enforcement aircraft, who continued to track the boat. At the same time, two crews aboard coastal interceptor vessels made their way towards the panga.
“The crews aboard both aircraft were critical to the initial detection and continued tracking of the vessel,” said Tim Sutherland, Director of Air and Marine Operations for CBP in San Diego.
At about 2 a.m., the CBP marine interdiction agents aboard one of the boats intercepted the panga about 35 nautical miles off the coast of San Diego, and stopped the boat without incident.
Agents encountered 18 adults aboard the boat, 16 men and two women. Both coastal interceptor crews transported the group of 18 to the dock, where they were turned over to U.S. Border Patrol agents. All 18 were Mexican nationals with no legal status in the U.S., and were taken to a nearby Border Patrol station for further processing.
CBP marine interdiction agents seized the 35-foot panga.
If you have information about maritime smuggling or suspicious activity along the coast of California, please call 9-1-1, and you will be directed through the proper channels.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection is a member agency of the Regional Coordinating Mechanism (ReCoM). Other members include federal, and state and local law-enforcement agencies operating in Southern California. The ReCoM utilizes intelligence, planning, and joint operations to target the threat of transnational crime along the coastal border.