Surge of Maritime Smuggling Attempts Persists

U.S. Border Patrol (USBP), San Diego Sector intercepted two separate maritime smuggling events this week, just hours apart.

The first incident occurred on Wednesday, June 2, at approximately 9 p.m., when agents observed a personal watercraft (similar to a Jet Ski) with two occupants cross the maritime boundary line.  As the watercraft approached the YMCA Surf Camp in Imperial Beach, agents were able to intercept the man being dropped off.  Questioning the man, they quickly determined he was a citizen of Mexico who was unlawfully present in the U.S.  The Mexican national was taken to a nearby Border Patrol station for processing.  The personal watercraft and operator returned to Mexico.

The second incident began Thursday, June 3, at approximately 1:45 a.m. when a U.S. Coast Guard vessel spotted and reported a panga approximately 15 miles west of Sunset Cliffs.  At approximately 4:30 a.m., U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s Air and Marine Operations agents and USBP agents intercepted 16 adult Mexican nationals.  The 12 men and four women had been dropped off in the surf zone and made their way to shore near Scripps Pier.  All 16 were determined to be unlawfully present in the U.S. and were taken to a nearby USBP station for processing.

“Smuggling along the California coastline is inherently dangerous for all of the involved parties,” said Chief Patrol Agent Aaron Heitke.  “I’m thankful that our agents and partners stand ready to combat all threats against our coastal borders.”