Lawsuit alleges CBP purposely rammed smuggling boat

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SAN DIEGO -- Graciela Lopez Franco was 32 years old when she drowned off the coast of Encinitas in June.

She was one of 20 passengers jammed into a panga boat bound for the United States.

The boat was spotted in U.S. waters by Customs and Border Protection. Three agents followed the panga on a high-speed CBP boat and tried to stop the illegal venture.

Investigators have said the panga driver refused orders to stop and tried to evade the federal agents. Warning shots were fired and ultimately the engine on the panga was shot out by the agents.

At some point after midnight on June 18, the two boats collided, sending the migrants into the water. All of them, except for Lopez, survived.

Now, Gene Iredale, an attorney representing Lopez's family back in Mexico, has filed a lawsuit against the agents claiming they were reckless and used excessive force and malice.

In the suit, Iredale maintains the agents purposely rammed the boat, breaking it apart without warning, leading to Lopez's death.

"I don't know what is the nautical equivalent of cowboy tactics, but it was this. Maybe it's piratical maneuvers. I cannot conceive that there would've been any deliberate attempt by a little wooden boat that sits two feet out of the water to try and ram a metal-hulled vessel 38 feet in length weighing 18,000 pounds," Iredale said.

The U.S. Government has yet to respond to the lawsuit. The agents named in the suit are Christopher Hunter, Arian Linscott and Craig Jenkins. Attempts to reach them through Customs and Border Protection were unsuccessful.


  • thechurchofchrismartin

    Shame on ambulance chaser Iredale. How low can you go to sue the US Gov’t when the 3 feds were doing their jobs: to KEEP ILLEGALS OUT of the United States. I will ask candidate Donald Trump to talk some sense into this nitwit attorney and enlighten him about how it is AGAINST THE LAW to SNEAK INTO the country on a panga boat at night. Too bad the victim did not know how to swim.

  • Idiot Liberal

    So typical of these worthless animals. Try to invade our country, get caught, die while trying to outrun law enforcement, then sue the border guards. Classic 3rd world/commie thinking.

    Illegal douchebags should use this as an example of how not to enter my country.

  • Hold up a second!

    America was built by immigrants who were willing to take chances and work! Shooting into a boatload of women and children lacks morals. Likewise with ramming. This sort of stupidity recklessly endangers live of those who did not choose to go on an illegal boat ride. Now you tell me, who would you rather have here, Welfare suckers or people willing to risk it all to get a job.

    • Liberaltarianmunismcan

      They shoot out engines with shells that are filled with carbon or something soft that turns to powder on impact. It causes the engine to seize up not explode or create schrapnel. So no one’s shooting into the boat with lethal rounds. It sucks what happened, but do the math and realize how few instances there are and respect the people that are here already legally doing their job. These dicks that drive people and drugs over don’t give 2 shits about the people they are smuggling into the US that’s what causes this to happen.

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