Customs and Border Protection agents intercepted a boat filled with 20 people attempting to illegally enter the United States this week off the coast of San Diego County.
According to Customs and Border Patrol (CBP), agents with CBP’s Office of Air and Marine saw the 30-foot boat about 30 miles off the coast around 1 a.m. Tuesday morning and dispatched two Office of Air and Marine interceptor boats to the area. CBP’s boats were able to catch up to the boat at 2:30 am.
On board the 30-foot panga were 13 men and seven women ranging in age from 20-51 years old. The majority of the passengers were from Mexico. However there were also two Guatemalan men and one man from El Salvador on board.
The illegal immigrants were taken into custody and turned over to Border Patrol for processing. CBP added that two of the individuals apprehended on the boat will be prosecuted for human smuggling.
“Maritime smuggling poses a threat to not only the passengers on these questionably seaworthy vessels in unpredictable seas, but also to the boating public,” William Raymond, OAM Director of Air Operations in San Diego said in a statement.
“We encourage our mariners and coastal residents to support DHS’s – See Something – Say Something Campaign and call in suspicious maritime activity to local authorities,” he added.
Photo credit: CBP