ENCINITAS, Calif. — Surveillance videos show a group of 13 people get off a smuggling boat and try to escape through an Encinitas neighborhood Monday, but they didn’t get far before they were stopped by authorities, according to U.S. Border Patrol.
The agency released the videos — showing the more than dozen people jump out of a panga and rush ashore Monday morning, then making their way down the street nearby — as they announced that they had found the entire group and were charging two people involved with felony smuggling offenses.
They were first called to the area, near Stone Steps Beach, around 10:30 a.m. Monday by a resident who said they had spotted the boat. Agents got to the area quickly enough to stop seven of the people while they were still in the neighborhood, determining that all of them were in the country illegally, USBP said.
After reviewing videos from neighbors, agents knew they were still looking for at least half-a-dozen people. Interviews with people they had already detained revealed that the rest of the group was at a nearby hotel, according to Border Patrol. Authorities headed there and made seven more arrests.
Agents also learned of a Los Angeles-area hotel that the smugglers were said to be using for their operation. A search at that location turned up about 5 pounds of methamphetamine and an “AR-style rifle” with no serial number, also known as a “ghost gun,” USBP said.
In total, the group that came ashore consisted of 9 Mexican citizens, 2 El Salvadoran citizens and 1 Honduran citizen, according to Border Patrol, and all of them were determined to be unlawfully in the U.S.
One U.S. citizen and one of the Mexican citizens were arrested for felony smuggling charges, while the remaining 12 people were taken to a USBP station to be processed for removal from the country.
Border Patrol said various agencies seized the unregistered weapon, the meth, the boat, two vehicles and some “personal-use drugs” as part of the bust.