Border Patrol agents detained 13 Mexican nationals in Imperial Beach, California, after they allegedly entered the United States illegally aboard a panga boat in the early morning hours of Nov. 22.
Responding to reports of an incoming boat from Mexico, Border Patrol agents intercepted the vessel as it made landfall near Seacoast Drive in Imperial Beach. The boat’s 13 passengers — 10 men and three women ranging from 23 to 45 years old — admitted that they were illegally present in the United States.
“Combating human smuggling at sea is a top priority for CBP and its law enforcement partners,” San Diego Sector Chief Patrol Agent Rodney Scott said. “These smugglers put people into life-threatening situations and the repercussions can be fatal, as in this instance.”
The boat’s captain and copilot were referred to Department of Homeland Security on human smuggling charges. Customs and Border Protection’s (CBP) Air and Marine Operations seized the boat.
The operation was coordinated with the DHS and members of the Regional Coordinating Mechanism. Members include the Coast Guard, CBP Air and Marine Operations, Immigration and Customs Enforcement Homeland Security Investigations, and state and local law enforcement agencies in Southern California.