Agents interrupt smuggling operations off La Jolla, Point Loma

Agents thwarted two illegal immigration attempts at sea this past weekend, off the coast of San Diego, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection office announced Wednesday.

In the first attempt on July 31, at about 3 a.m., agents patrolling about five miles off the La Jolla coast spotted a vessel of interest on their radar. Using night vision, they identified it as a panga, a Mexican fishing boat commonly used in U.S. waters for illegal smuggling activity, with a large group of people aboard running with no lights.

The agents intercepted the 30-foot boat, which stopped shortly after the agents used the lights and sirens. A second CBP vessel provided backup.

There were 23 Mexican nationals, three female and 20 male, attempting to enter the United States illegally aboard

The second attempt occurred about 3:30 p.m. on Aug. 1 when agents stopped a recreational vessel crossing into the U.S. from Mexico about 4 miles south of Point Loma.

Upon investigating the 24-foot Sea Ray, agents found the U.S. citizen driving the boat was accompanied by four illegal aliens; one female and two male Mexican citizens and one male Guatemalan.

CBP Marine Interdiction Agents seized both vessels, and turned custody of the illegal aliens over to U.S. Border Patrol agents.

The seizures were coordinated by the San Diego Maritime Unified Command, comprised of CPB, ICE, the Coast Guard, and other law enforcement partners.

SOURCE: Customs and Border Protection