CBP agents stop two human smuggling boats two nights in a row

[CBP agents intercepted a boat off the shore of Point Loma at 2:30 a.m. Thursday morning on June 11, 2020, after pursuing the vessel for more than six hours. Agents say they took 25 people into custody on suspicion of entering the United States illegally, including a 15-year-old boy.
((Courtesy of CBP) )

Agents say they pursued one boat for six and a half hours before detaining 25 people

JUNE 12, 2020 6:14 PM

SAN DIEGO — After a nearly seven-hour pursuit, U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents stopped a 32-foot boat they suspected was trying to illegally smuggle people into San Diego early Thursday morning.

Agents spotted the boat at around 8 p.m. on Wednesday as it left northern Mexican waters. They followed it until it was preparing to dock in Point Loma around 2:30 a.m. Thursday morning.

“These kinds of lengthy pursuits are very taxing, but not unusual for our Air and Marine agents as smugglers try to use the vastness of the ocean to cover their tracks,” said Christopher Hunter, Deputy Director of Marine Operations for CBP in San Diego.

At the dock, Border Patrol agents took custody of 25 Mexican citizens, including 18 men, six women and one 15-year-old boy, who did not have legal permission to enter the country, authorities said. The boy was not accompanied by his parents or other relatives, authorities said.

A CBP spokesperson said the captain of the boat will face federal charges, while the passengers will be returned to Mexico.

It was the second night in a row agents stopped a boat that had people on board trying to enter the United States without legal documentation, according to Customs and Border Protection.

[CBP agents stopped a small pleasure boat off the coast of Coronado early Wednesday morning on June 10, 2020. The boat had 10 men, all Mexican citizens ages 18-55, aboard. They did not have permission to legally enter the United States, according to CBP
((Courtesy of CBP) )

The first boat was discovered early Wednesday morning off the coast of Coronado with 10 people on board, according to the federal agency. Agents said the hull of that small pleasure boat was spray-painted black to avoid detection.

“It’s dangerous to travel on a crowded boat, out at sea, with no lights, and these smugglers took the added step of spray-painting the hull black so they would be difficult to spot at night,” said Hunter.

“Smuggling organizations aren’t considering anyone’s safety when these make these illegal attempts, only what profits they can try to make.”

Human and drug smugglers are increasingly turning to the Pacific Ocean to get into the United States after the Trump administration has tightened border infrastructure on land, according to border authorities.