Agents stop attempt to smuggle 15 people off coast of San Diego
SAN DIEGO – U.S. Customs and Border Protection Air and Marine Interdiction agents stopped an attempt to smuggle 15 people into the United States off the coast of San Diego, including one child and one pregnant woman.
A crew from Air and Marine Operations was on patrol Friday evening four miles south of Point Loma when they spotted a 23-foot cuddy cabin boat. When additional help, including a U.S. Coast Guard crew, arrived, they shined a spotlight on the boat – finding it to be overloaded with people.
The Coast Guard Cutter Barracuda crew helped off-board the 15 people and take them to a dock in San Diego. U.S. Border Patrol agents took the people to the San Ysidro port of entry.
Among the 15 people on the boat were eight men, six women, including a pregnant woman and one 15-year-old boy. All were determined to be Mexican nationals without any legal status to enter the U.S. None required medical attention and all appeared to be in good health.
Agents said the suspected driver of the boat will face federal charges related to the smuggling attempt.
“Crowding too many people on a small pleasure craft out at sea can be dangerous to those on board,” said Jeremy Thompson, Director of Marine Operations for CBP in San Diego. “People’s lives can be at risk when they are putting their trust in a smuggler who cares more about profit than people. I’m glad we were able to work with our partners to safely bring these folks to shore.”