SAN DIEGO — Two people suspected of attempting to illegally enter the U.S. were seriously hurt Monday when they crashed a jet ski into the rocks near Cabrillo National Monument, authorities said.
According to officials with U.S. Customs and Border Protection, authorities spotted the men on the jet ski around 1 a.m. After reaching the shore in Point Loma, the two men were detained and taken to the hospital. Less than an hour earlier, about a mile off the coast, border authorities intercepted a panga boat with 23 Mexican nationals on board, taking into custody 5 women, 17 men, and a juvenile.
Border Patrol agents say during the current fiscal year, maritime smuggling events are up more than 100% compared to all of last year.
“For fiscal year to date, ‘22, we’ve already seen 270 events maritime and then we’ve seen about 1,300 apprehensions within those 270 events,” said agent Tekae Michael. “And that’s just specific to maritime.”
Michael says smugglers will put migrants on any kind of vessel that’s convenient.
Last week, a group of migrants landed in Imperial Beach using jet skis and a boogie board.
In May, three people were killed and dozens more were rescued after a smuggling boat broke apart and overturned off the coast of Point Loma.
Michael says smugglers often don’t bother explaining the dangers to the people they’re trying to smuggle into the United States.
“They’re usually traveling at night without any lights to be able to guide safely. They’re overloading people into these pangas. They’re having people being smuggled in jet skis that may not know how to ride and or they’re just being dropped off and told to swim to shore and some may not be able to swim,” Michael said.
Border Patrol says agents in the San Diego Sector are detaining about 450 people daily who are trying to enter the U.S. by sea and on land.