ENCINITAS — U.S. Customs and Border Protection marine interdiction crews in San Diego thwarted a smuggling attempt in the early morning hours of March 3, stopping a boat off the coast of Leucadia with 17 illegal immigrants aboard.
At about 3:30 a.m., a CBP vessel on patrol crewed by two marine interdiction agents and a border patrol agent spotted a 36-foot panga about two miles offshore from Leucadia. When the CBP vessel approached, the panga fled from law enforcement authorities. After a brief pursuit, the panga stopped and agents brought the vessel and all 17 persons on board to shore.
U.S. Border Patrol agents took custody of one 16-year-old boy, 12 men, and four women, all of whom are Mexican citizens and illegal immigrants. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents continue to investigate the smuggling incident.