13 people arrested in smuggling boat off intercepted off coast of Oceanside

Officials say the 23-foot boat was carrying 10 men and 3 women who were in the country without authorization, including the captain and co-captain


SEP. 17, 2019 2:28 PM

Federal officials intercepted a suspicious boat off the coast of Oceanside on Sunday and arrested all 13 people onboard for illegally entering the country, officials said.

The Coast Guard was notified of the suspicious 23-foot Bayliner pleasure craft by a multi-agency force that monitors the coastline known as the Joint Harbor Operation Center.

They went to intercept the vessel around 2:15 p.m. The boat was towed to the Oceanside Harbor, where it was met by Border Patrol agents who questioned the 10 men and three women found onboard. They determined the passengers were all Mexican and Guatemalan nationals who had crossed the border without authorization.

In addition to the passengers, the boat’s captain and co-captain were also determined to be Mexican nationals in the country without authorization. They were arrested and face alien-smuggling charges, officials said.

The boat was seized and the passengers were transported to a Border Patrol station for processing.

The incident was the latest in a string of suspected smuggling boats that have come ashore in San Diego County in recent weeks. Officials say there has been a noticeable rise of maritime smuggling or suspicious activity along the coast, with 179 cases reported so far this fiscal year, which ends Oct. 1, compared to 122 last fiscal year.