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  1. #1
    Senior Member Skippy's Avatar
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    15 rescued at sea off San Diego coast

    15 rescued at sea off San Diego coast

    The boat, carrying illegal immigrants, was drifting for a day and a half. After their rescue, the passengers identified the alleged smugglers.

    By Richard Marosi, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
    March 13, 2008

    SAN DIEGO -- Fifteen illegal immigrants aboard a rickety boat were rescued by U.S. authorities off the San Diego coast Wednesday morning after an apparent botched maritime smuggling attempt.

    The dehydrated and sunburned passengers were taken off the 24-foot boat named "Seaulater" by federal authorities nearly a day and a half after leaving Rosarito Beach bound for Southern California, authorities said.

    Authorities arrested two Mexican men in the group after the passengers identified them as being the smugglers. They allegedly charged $4,000 each for the passage, but the boat's engine died within 20 minutes of leaving the dock at Rosarito Beach about 10 p.m. Monday, said Lauren Mack, a spokeswoman for Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

    The boat drifted 10 miles off the coast with no food or water supplies.

    After their rescue, the immigrants didn't hesitate in identifying the traffickers.

    "They are extremely angry with the smugglers," Mack said.

    Including the two alleged smugglers, the passengers consisted of 14 Mexicans and one Salvadoran. They were rescued after a passing boat saw the vessel and contacted a private sea towing company. The towing company notified U.S. authorities.

    The U.S. Coast Guard and Customs and Border Protection handled the rescue operation. The boat was in such bad shape that it barely made it to shore.

    "It's sinking right now," Mack said Wednesday afternoon.

    Investigations into immigrant-smuggling operations are often frustrated by immigrants' refusal to identify the smugglers. In this case, authorities said as many as five of the passengers offered to be witnesses. They will be allowed to stay in the country for the duration of the case.The other immigrants are expected to be sent back to Mexico today. Immigration and Customs Enforcement is handling the investigation with assistance from the Border Patrol.

    Maritime smuggling attempts are not uncommon in the spring and summer months, when vessels carrying illegal immigrants can blend in with the many recreational and fishing boats streaming in and out of San Diego Bay.

    Recent months, however, have seen a spike in smugglers using rickety old boats that depart small ports in Mexico and come ashore on north San Diego County beaches, Mack said.

    She said there have been at least 20 cases of boats being intercepted, sometimes with immigrants still aboard, sometimes empty -- left adrift or onshore. Two suspected smugglers have been arrested in previous incidents, she said.

    http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me ... 1984.story

  2. #2
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    3rd Man Arrested in San Diego Sea Rescue

    By ELLIOT SPAGAT (Associated Press Writer)
    From Associated Press
    March 13, 2008 4:06 PM EDT

    SAN DIEGO - Three of the 15 people who were stranded on a boat for three days off the Pacific Coast have been arrested on suspicion of smuggling illegal immigrants.

    Others aboard the rickety vessel told investigators they had agreed to pay $4,000 each for the illegal trip from Mexico to California, said Lauren Mack, a spokeswoman for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. The three suspects were due in court Thursday.

    Four women and 11 men were rescued from the boat Wednesday about 12 miles off the San Diego coast and 20 miles north of the Mexican border. Aside from the suspects, three passengers were being held as material witnesses, while the rest were being sent home to Mexico or El Salvador.

    The trip started in a Mexican fishing village south of Tijuana and near Playas de Rosarito, said Mike Unzueta, the lead ICE investigator in San Diego.

    The smugglers switched boats on Mexico's Coronado Islands but the boat's engine died about 20 minutes after they left; it may have had engine trouble or run out of fuel.

    "They say they had been dead in the water for three days," said CBP spokesman Vince Bond. "No reported injuries. They were just hungry, thirsty and sunburned."

    The rescue comes amid a spate of smuggling attempts on California's Pacific waters.

    ICE agents have identified about 20 boats used for human smuggling in the San Diego area since August, Mack said. Those makeshift watercraft were found adrift, washed ashore or carrying illegal immigrants.

    No deaths or serious injuries have been reported in those attempts.



    http://enews.earthlink.net/article/nat? ... 3253877416
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  3. #3
    sunsetincali's Avatar
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    What a waste of tax dollars. No trial - no witnesses - none
    of that is needed. Ship them ALL home.
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  4. #4
    Senior Member legalatina's Avatar
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    $4,000 for a nice pleasure cruise. These Mexican smugglers are depraved and have no regard for human life. Can someone send this to the professional ethno-supremacist apologists like Geraldo River and Janet Murguia?

  5. #5
    Administrator Jean's Avatar
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    Border tightens, illegal immigrants turn to waters off Cal coast

    Last Update: 3/13 5:18 pm



    SAN DIEGO (AP) - Arraignment is scheduled tomorrow in San Diego for three Mexican men arrested on suspicion of smuggling a boatload of illegal immigrants who were stranded without food or water for more than a day off the Southern California coast.

    Fifteen people aboard a rickety 24-foot boat were rescued Wednesday 12 miles offshore. None was seriously injured.

    The lead U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement investigator in San Diego says the trip started in a fishing village near Playas de Rosarito. Mike Unzueta says they switched boats on Mexico's Coronado Islands. Unzueta says the boat's engine died 20 minutes after leaving the islands.

    Three passengers are staying in the U.S. as witnesses. The rest are being sent home to Mexico or El Salvador.

    www.cbs47.tv
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  6. #6
    Senior Member MyAmerica's Avatar
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    Three Mexicans arraigned on boat smuggling charges

    Three Mexicans arraigned on boat smuggling charges
    SAN DIEGO (AP) - Three men suspected of leading a boatload of illegal immigrants along California's coast have been arraigned in San Diego federal court.

    Fifteen people were stranded on a 24-foot vessel for more than a day before they were rescued Wednesday, 12 miles off San Diego's coast. No one was seriously injured.

    The defendants did not enter pleas during their initial court appearances Friday. They are 31-year-old mechanical engineer Octavio Ruiz Gomez, 34-year-old taxi driver Jorge Acuna Betancourt and 19-year-old taxi driver Jorge Ames Barr.

    A federal magistrate judge set bail at $15,000 each. If they post bond, federal immigration authorities say they will take custody because the men -- all Mexican citizens -- crossed the border illegally.


    ©2008 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

    http://www.fox6.com/news/state/story.as ... dfbca04c1f
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  7. #7
    Senior Member lccat's Avatar
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    Why waste more United States Taxes to save Drug Pushers?

  8. #8
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    Accused Smugglers Arraigned, Do Not Enter Pleas
    Men Could Receive Up To 10 Years Each If Convicted

    POSTED: 9:57 pm PDT March 14, 2008


    SAN DIEGO -- Three Mexican men were arraigned Friday on charges of smuggling a boatload of illegal immigrants, a mishap that ended when 15 stranded passengers were rescued after more than a day without food or water.

    The defendants did not enter pleas during initial court appearances, two days after 11 men and four women were rescued from a sinking 24-foot skipjack, 12 miles offshore from San Diego.

    Octavio Ruiz Gomez, a 31-year-old mechanical engineer who allegedly piloted the boat, and two others who were aboard -- taxi drivers Jorge Acuna Betancourt, 34, and Jorge Ames Barr, 19 -- were charged with bringing in illegal aliens for financial gain, a crime punishable by up to 10 years in federal prison if they are convicted.

    Magistrate Judge Anthony Battaglia set bail at $15,000 each and appointed each one an attorney. If they post bond, immigration authorities will take custody of them because they are in the U.S. illegally, said Lauren Mack, a spokeswoman for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

    All three men denied to investigators that they were leading the boat and said they were paying passengers, according to a statement of probable cause. Ames said his two co-defendants were the guides, and three other Mexican passengers who are being held as material witnesses identified all three defendants as the leaders.

    Wednesday's rescue was the most dramatic example of a spate of sea smuggling attempts along California's Pacific coast. ICE says it has discovered about 20 boats since summer -- some abandoned, some with passengers aboard. It found a total of 26 people aboard the vessels.

    No deaths or serious or injuries have been reported in the recent attempts.

    www.nbcsandiego.com
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  9. #9
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    I wonder if they made the smugglers give the money back to those people? If it's in Mexico they are out of luck, or should I say four grand.
    I guess if they are willing to gamble with their life why not their money.
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