SAN DIEGO.- On Saturday night at approximately 11:20 pm, the crew of a multi-role application aircraft (MEA) from Air and Marine Operations (AMO) spotted a suspicious vessel off the coast of San Diego.
The MEA crew used a crew from the AMO Marine Unit, which intercepted the panga boat approximately a a quarter mile west of the Point Loma shoreline. Inside the boat were a total of 17 men and three Mexican women.
“AMO agents and our regional law enforcement partners remain vigilant, dedicated, and focused on detecting, intercepting and disrupting human smuggling attempts off the coast of Southern California,” said Michael Montgomery, director of San Diego Air. and Marine Branch.
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“This interdiction is another example of AMO’s unique capabilities, combining technology, aviation and maritime assets and the experience of our dedicated agents to safeguard our Homeland.”
AMO personnel escorted the ship to Ballast Point, where United States Border Patrol agents.
Agents determined that the 20 migrants were illegally present in the United States, all of whom were taken to a local Border Patrol station for processing.
The San Diego Sector Border Patrol (SDC) documented a record 309 ocean smuggling events during fiscal year 2020. This fiscal year to date, SDC has logged 80 ocean smuggling events.
“As a constant reminder to the public, if you see anything out of the ordinary near shore, don’t hesitate to call authorities,” said CPA Aaron M. Heitke.
“These vessels are dangerously overloaded and unsafe in the ever-changing ocean. terms. Traffickers exploit migrants and put lives in grave danger for their own benefit, “he concluded.
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