COAST CITIES — Federal officials thwarted two smuggling at sea attempts near local beaches on July 6.
In the first attempt, at about 1:30 a.m. on July 6, a Coast Guard crew aboard a helicopter spotted a panga vessel with a group of illegal aliens off the coast of Oceanside. A Marine Interceptor and Coast Guard cutter joined the pursuit to stop the Mexican fishing boat when it changed course to avoid the helicopter and boat, coming ashore at Bataquitos Lagoon just north of Encinitas.
California Border Patrol agents on shore quickly apprehended eight illegal aliens from the vessel, and with assistance from San Diego Sheriff’s deputies, an additional eight individuals were caught within an hour. In total, 15 men and one woman, all Mexican citizens, were apprehended. CBP seized the vessel.
“This was a classic example of how our partnerships and layered enforcement strategies in San Diego come to fruition to make the stop,” said Paul Pope, acting director of marine operations for CBP in San Diego. “Through the Maritime Unified Command, we can best utilize the resources available from different federal, state, and local law enforcement entities to get the job done.”
In the second attempt, at about 5 a.m. on July 6, a panga came ashore near Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton. Provost Marshal Officers from the military base spotted and detained 18 individuals from the boat and turned custody over to Border Patrol agents. All of the persons apprehended — 13 men and five women — are Mexican citizens with no documents to enter the United States.
Following the incident, Coast Guard and CBP air and marine assets searched for the vessel, which pushed back out to sea. These interdictions were part of a coordinated effort by member agencies of the San Diego Maritime Unified Command.