SAN DIEGO -- Border Patrol agents arrested 21 people after stopping a suspected smuggling boat off the coast of San Diego.
The first vessel was spotted entering the U.S. by a Department of Homeland Security aircraft around 11 a.m. Sunday, USBP said. About an hour later, agents caught up to the boat off the coast of Point Loma.
Twenty-one people, ranging in age from 19 to 59, were found on the boat and taken into custody. Border Patrol said four of the people were identified as suspected smugglers, including two U.S. citizens.
The remaining people were Mexican nationals who admitted being in the U.S. illegally, according to officials.
Just after midnight Monday morning, Border Patrol said officials also arrested another 13 people from a panga spotted off the coast of San Clemente.
“With inclement weather conditions and approaching storms, smuggling in the maritime domain will increase the dangers at sea and on the shoreline," San Diego Sector Chief Patrol Agent Douglas Harrison said. “As I have said before, it is not worth putting your life into the hands of exploitive and indifferent smugglers.”
The people who were arrested are now in DHS custody.