8 arrested in Imperial Beach after panga comes ashore

[Eight Mexican nationals were arrested on suspicion of entering the country illegally after a boat came ashore in Imperial Beach early Thursday.
(U.S. Border Patrol )

Federal officers spotted the boat off the coast of Imperial Beach shortly after midnight; six people were found in the boat, two others were found in a building

MAY 14, 2020 11:47 AM

IMPERIAL BEACH — Eight Mexican nationals were arrested on suspicion of crossing the U.S.-Mexico border without authorization early Thursday after a suspected smuggling boat came ashore in Imperial Beach.

The boat, with eight people on board, was first spotted by federal agents shortly after midnight about a mile offshore.

Agents responded to an area near the Imperial Beach pier and found a beached 19-foot pleasure craft with several life vests scattered nearby. With the help of helicopters, agents quickly located six people on the beach.

About two hours later, two additional people were found hiding in a residential area south of Palm Avenue, said Border Patrol spokesman Justin Castrejon.

Of the eight people who were arrested, seven were adults, ranging in age from 20 to 45 years old. One was 17; it wasn’t disclosed if the teen was male or female.

A 36-year-old man was identified as the boat’s captain, according to a statement from the agency. The boat was seized.

Since October, the San Diego sector agents have responded to 142 maritime events, making 540 arrests and seizing 57 vessels and 6,642 pounds of contraband.