Human Smuggling Vessel Seized with 11 Migrants Off California Coast

CBP and Border Patrol agents interdict a smuggling incident where 12 people were packed on a small boat. (Photo: U.S. Border Patrol/San Diego Sector)
Photo: U.S. Border Patrol/San Diego Sector

CBP Air and Marine Operations crews and U.S. Border Patrol agents teamed up to interdict a human smuggling incident off the coast of Southern California. The off-shore incident was the second in the past week and led to the apprehension of multiple migrants and a human smuggler.

Shortly before midnight on Monday night, a U.S. Customs and Border Protection Air and Marine Operations BE-350 Multi-Rold Enforcement Aircraft crew spotted a vessel running with its lights out off the coast of Southern California. The boat appeared to be entering U.S. territorial waters from Mexico, according to information obtained from CBP officials.

The AMO aircrew coordinated with a Coastal Interceptor Vessel to interdict the suspected human smuggling operation. By 1 a.m., the CBP interceptor vessel interdicted and stopped the 20-foot inflatable (Z0diac style) vessel with a single outboard motor, officials stated. The stop took place seven nautical miles west of the Torrey Pines Nature Preserve.

Border Patrol agents onboard the CBP vessel boarded the boat and found 11 migrants — massively overloading the capacity of the boat, officials reported. Agents also identified the captain of the boat as the human smuggler.

The vessel carried seven adult Mexican males, two adult Mexican females, one Mexican unaccompanied alien child, and one adult Brazilian male, officials said. The crew seized the human smuggling boat and transported the migrants to the Border Patrol station for processing.

Agents also arrested the boat’s captain who will be prosecuted under alien smuggling charges.

“This smuggling event is an example of the extreme risks smugglers take to bring people illegally into the United States,” said Acting Deputy Director, Marine Operations Kris Goland. “It’s fortunate that this event came to a safe ending considering the smuggling vessel was way overloaded with people, at night, without navigation lights, in an inflatable boat, way offshore of San Diego.”

San Diego Sector Chief Patrol Agent Aaron Heitke added, “Maritime smuggling is extremely dangerous and smugglers place an emphasis on monetary gain over victim safety. I am proud of the hard work and diligence the agents displayed in this case.”

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 Sunday-morning talk show, What’s Your Point? Follow him on Twitter @BobPriceBBTX, Parler @BobPrice, and Facebook.

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