6-Hour Maritime Interdiction Leads to Arrest of 25 Migrants, Smuggler

CBP Air and Marine Operations agents interdict a 32-foot cabin cruiser off the California Coast with 25 illegal aliens on board. (U.S. Customs and Border Protection/Air and Marine Operations)
U.S. Customs and Border Protection/Air and Marine Operations

CBP Air and Marine Operations (AMO) agents tracked an ocean-going boat with a load of migrants for 6.5 hours before interdicting the failed human smuggling effort off the coast of California. The interdiction marks the second human smuggling bust in as many days for AMO agents.

An AMO aircrew assigned to a multi-role enforcement aircraft on patrol office the San Diego Coast on June 10 observed a boat leaving Mexican waters headed to the U.S. This aircrew tracked the boat for 3.5 hours before handing off to a second surveillance aircraft, according to information provided by San Diego Sector CBP officials.

The second aircrew continued tracking the vessel for an additional three hours and vectored an AMO coastal interceptor vessel to interdict. At about 2:3o a.m. the marine interdiction craft came into contact with the boat from Mexico off the shore of Point Loma, California, officials stated.

The marine agents boarded the 32-foot cabin cruiser and identified 25 migrants onboard plus the boat’s captain. Due to the number of passengers on the boat, AMO agents contacted a U.S. Coast Guard vessel to assist in the transportation of the migrants to shore. The Coast Guard Cutter Menjamin Bottoms responded and took custody of the migrants. The cutter transported the migrants to awaiting Border Patrol agents at the dock.

Border Patrol agents identified the illegal aliens as Mexican nationals — 18 adult men (ages 18-66), six adult women (agents 20-47), and one 15-year-old boy. Border Patrol officials said they will all be returned to Mexico after being medically cleared and passing a criminal background investigation.

“From the time our aircraft crew first spotted this boat, we continuously tracked the vessel for six and a half hours before interdicting this boat, and working with our partners to bring everyone to shore,” Christopher Hunter, Deputy Director of Marine Operations for CBP in San Diego said in the written statement. “These kinds of lengthy pursuits are very taxing, but not unusual for our Air and Marine agents as smugglers try to use the vastness of the ocean to cover their tracks.”

AMO agents seized the smuggler’s boat.

One day earlier, AMO agents detected another boat where the smugglers spray painted the boat black in an attempt to avoid detection, Breitbart Texas reported.

Bob Price serves as associate editor and senior news contributor for the Breitbart Texas-Border team. He is an original member of the Breitbart Texas team. Price is a regular panelist on Fox 26 Houston’s What’s Your Point? Sunday-morning talk show. Follow him on Twitter @BobPriceBBTX and Facebook.

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