Border Patrol agents spot panga, arrest 10 Mexican citizens

SAN DIEGO — U.S. Border Patrol agents using coastal surveillance cameras spotted a human-smuggling boat approaching the shore and were waiting on a La Jolla beach to arrest 10 undocumented immigrants early this morning, the federal agency reported.

The nine men and one woman aboard the small fishing boat were all Mexican citizens, USBP public-affairs Agent Tekae Michael said. Such low- profile outboard-motor boats, known as pangas, are popular for smugglers hoping to avoid detections as they move drugs and humans from Mexico to the United States.

The arrests took place shortly after midnight on a stretch of shoreline below Camino de la Costa and Winamar Avenue, a little south of Windansea Beach, Michael said. Border Patrol agents were waiting for the boat when it landed.

Agents were processing the undocumented immigrants to determine who they were and if any have criminal histories in the United States, Michael said. If they do, they could face charges, while the others will be processed for a quick return to Mexico.

The spokeswoman said she could release no details on the surveillance system that played a role in intercepting the immigrants, except to say that multiple government agencies operate and make use of it.