10 men charged following attempted maritime smuggling event

10 men charged following attempted maritime smuggling event
A commercial box truck was also allegedly involved in the transportation of marijuana. Ten men were arrested in the smuggling attempt. Photo courtesy of Border Patrol

DEL MAR — Ten men are being charged with possession with intent to distribute and conspiracy to distribute a controlled substance following their arrest on Nov. 8 near 12th Street. 

Of the 10 individuals, two were U.S. citizens, the rest were Mexican nationals.

Just after 3 a.m., Border Patrol Agents spotted an unlit panga vessel traveling 3 miles off the coast of Oceanside in a southern direction.

Border Patrol Agent Jerome Conlin said that the Coastal Surveillance System on Carlsbad’s Ponto Beach was also used to confirm the agents’ initial detection of the panga.

A helicopter from the Office of Air and Marine was called in to assist in the search for the vessel. The panga was spotted approximately 2 miles off the coast of Del Mar just after 4 a.m. still traveling in a southern direction, when it turned towards shore.

Two people from the vessel attempted to flee, running in opposite directions.

Agents with the Border Patrol and the Office of Air and Marine stopped a panga boat as it came ashore in Del Mar on Nov. 8. The vessel had more than $4 million in marijuana bales. Photo courtesy of Border Patrol

Agents with the Border Patrol and the Office of Air and Marine stopped a panga boat as it came ashore in Del Mar on Nov. 8. The vessel had more than $4 million in marijuana bales. Photo courtesy of Border Patrol

One man was arrested, but a search for the second suspect was unsuccessful.

Border Patrol Agents conducted a simultaneous search near 12th Street and discovered a commercial box truck with the name “La Guadalupana Imports” on it illegally parked A subsequent search of the truck revealed a man sleeping in the driver’s seat and several people lying in the cargo area.

All were arrested and taken to the Imperial Beach Border Patrol Station for interviews and processing.

A total of 41 bales of marijuana were removed from the panga.

Border Patrol estimated the marijuana had a street value of $4,105,000.

One of the suspects, Jorge Rodriguez-Hernandez told interviewers at the Imperial Beach Border Patrol Station that they were waiting for a boat to arrive, and that he would be paid $900 to help move bales of marijuana out of the boat and into a truck, according to the filed court complaint.

One suspect said that the drugs were originally to be unloaded in the Los Angeles area but that the drop off was changed to Del Mar.

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Filed Under: CrimeRancho Santa Fe NewsThe Coast News

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