SOLANA BEACH — U.S. Customs and Border Patrol has determined the appearance of a disabled vehicle with over a dozen passengers off the Solana Beach coast last week to be a human smuggling incident.
U.S. Coast Guard, Customs and Border Patrol and Solana Beach and Del Mar lifeguards all responded Aug. 10 to a disabled vessel floating around 150 yards from shore at Fletcher Cove.
The boat, a small white motorized vessel containing 14 people, was first reported around 10:30 a.m. near Carlsbad. Further reports came in around 11 a.m. when it appeared to run out of gas in Fletcher Cove.
According to the San Diego Sector of U.S. Customs and Border Patrol, all 14 individuals were determined them to be migrants that arrived illegally into the United States. One passenger was charged with human smuggling.
“Border Patrol agents conducted immigration inspections on a total of 14 passengers, determining each was illegally present in the United States. Agents transported the individuals to a nearby Border Patrol station for processing and further investigation,” Border Patrol said in a statement.
There have been 615 documented maritime smuggling events in the southern California region in the past fiscal year, Border Patrol said.
Before the U.S. Coast Guard arrived on the scene around 12:25 p.m., one individual jumped off the vessel and was detained. The remaining individuals remained on board for around an hour until the Coast Guard arrived.
The reports of a disabled boat came just hours after an abandoned and suspected human smuggling boat was found on the beach at Sea Cliff Park in Del Mar.
Surfers discovered the boat just before 6 a.m. at 1500 Coast Blvd., and Del Mar lifeguards arrived and had it towed away, according to OnScene TV.
The motorboat contained several life preservers and gas canisters on board, the video news service reported. The U.S. Border Patrol and U.S. Coast Guard were notified of the discovery.
The boat was registered in California in 1995, according to OnScene TV.
Earlier this year, eight individuals drowned off Black’s Beach near Torrey Pines after two suspected human smuggling boats capsized.
Editor’s note: This story was updated to include additional information from authorities.