Twice this week, panga boats filled with illegal aliens crossed over the U.S. border through the waters of the Pacific Ocean. Monday beachgoers watched in shock as one boat arrived on shore. Passengers fled, some of whom remain at large, while Tuesday’s boat was apprehended before reaching shore.
In the morning hours of August 25, the first of two boats landed on the shores of a San Diego beach. Passengers dove out of the boat and darted into the city. Seven of the 17 were tracked down after being seen by helicopter surveillance, according to NBC 7 News, which also obtained footage and photos of the event from observers. Border Patrol agents continue to search for the remaining 10.
On high alert, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Air Interdiction Agents detected another boat at about 1 a.m. Tuesday morning, some 30 miles off the coast of Del Mar. Agents in the air and U.S. Coast Guard assisted Office of Air and Marine (OAM) Interceptor boats toward the panga’s location.
OAM intercepted the boat 12 miles off the coast at 2:30 a.m. Of the 13 men and seven women found on board, two men were from Guatemala and one from El Salvador, the remainder being Mexican nationals. Ages of the illegal aliens ranged from 20 to 51. U.S. Border Patrol took custody of the panga and it’s passengers at Oceanside Harbor, after which the passengers were to be processed. Two men were identified for prosecution for human smuggling.
Other than Mexicans (OTM) have been coming across the U.S. southern border in exponentially increasing numbers over the past few years. OTMs cannot be sent back over the Mexican border, as they come from non-continuous countries, meaning any country that does not share a physical border with the U.S. Mexican nationals are generally repatriated either through voluntary return or deportation proceedings.
According to CPB, the waters off the coast of southern California are very highly trafficked for smuggling not only people, but drugs as well. Smugglers have been known to motor many miles out to sea and even up to Santa Barbara to evade detection.
From October 1, 2013 through July 31, 2014, 227,279 OTM illegal aliens have crossed into the United States over the southwest border. In addition, 13,675 Mexican unaccompanied alien minors have crossed illegally over the U.S. southern border. This does not include the number of Mexican adults crossing into the country illegally or any illegal aliens crossing over the northern U.S. border or entering the U.S. illegally through other means and locations.
CBP can always use the community’s help when these maritime events occur: call 1-800-854-9834. There is always someone ready to take reports.
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