Border Patrol & Partners Stop Maritime Smuggling Event

IMPERIAL BEACH, CA (STL.News) U.S. Border Patrol agents, with the aid of the Joint Harbor Operations Center (JHOC) and Air and Marine Operations (AMO), arrested eight people on Thursday morning who were involved in a maritime smuggling event.

Shortly after midnight on May 14, JHOC personnel observed a suspicious vessel with eight people on board traveling toward the Imperial Beach pier.  Agents quickly responded to the area and discovered a beached 19-foot pleasure craft with multiple life vests scattered nearby.

Agents searched the area and, with the help of AMO air assets, and were able to find six people immediately on the beach.  At approximately 2 a.m., the two remaining individuals were located hiding in a residential area.

Of the eight arrested all were Mexican nationals, seven were adults ranging from 20 to 45 years in age.  One individual was a 17-year-old juvenile. All eight admitted to being illegally present in the U.S., including a 36-year-old man who was identified as the boat captain.

The arrested individuals were processed by Border Patrol and the boat was seized by AMO.

San Diego Sector has interdicted 142 maritime events, made 540 arrests, and seized 57 vessels, and 6,642 lbs. of contraband in US waters since October 1, 2019.

If you have information about maritime smuggling or suspicious activity along the coast of California, please call 1-800-854-9834 ext. 1 or dial 9-1-1, and you will be directed through the proper channels.