DEL MAR, Calif. — Eight suspected illegal immigrants and three U.S. citizens were detained early Monday when a panga landed in Del Mar.
Border Patrol agents spotted the boat heading north off the coast of Torrey Pines about 1:30 a.m., and several people were caught shortly afterward while climbing up cliffs with flashlights near 11th Street in Del Mar, Border Patrol officials said.
The panga was seized and its navigator was taken into custody, according to Border Patrol Agent Steven Pitts. Two vehicles found nearby were seized also, he said.
The detainees were being questioned at the Border Patrol station. Pitts said it was unclear if they would be deported voluntarily, formally deported or if they would face charges based on each person’s criminal history.
“We have increased consequences for individuals apprehended in the maritime smuggling environment,” Pitts said. “Because the maritime environment, or the ocean if you will, is so dangerous and unpredictable, we’re trying to prevent people from losing their life.”
Pitts said the three U.S. citizens would face criminal charges related to maritime smuggling.