Coast Guard interdicts 11 migrants during 2 incidents west of San Diego

Cutter HaddockSAN DIEGO — The Coast Guard, in coordination with the San Diego Regional Coordinating Mechanism, interdicted 11 suspected migrants during two separate incidents off the coast of San Diego Tuesday and Wednesday.

At approximately 7 p.m., Tuesday, watchstanders from the Joint Harbor Operations Center at Coast Guard Sector San Diego spotted a 35-foot vessel in U.S. waters suspected to be operating without navigation lights.

The Coast Guard Cutter Haddock, an 87-foot Coastal Patrol Boat homeported in San Diego, and its crew intercepted the vessel and conducted a safety boarding. During the course of the boarding, the boarding team discovered nine suspected undocumented Mexican nationals and two American citizens aboard. The vessel was then escorted to the customs dock where a joint boarding was conducted with Customs and Border Protection. Border Patrol agents arrested all 11 persons aboard, and the vessel was seized by Air and Marine Operations.

In a separate incident, at approximately 5 a.m., Wednesday, watchstanders at the JHOC sighted two swimmers in a known human smuggling area. At 6:30 a.m., one of the swimmers appeared to swim farther offshore.

A Coast Guard Station San Diego 33-foot Special Purpose Craft — Law Enforcement crew launched to recover the swimmers, as it was unknown if they were in distress. At approximately 7 a.m., the crew retrieved one of the two swimmers who was suspected of attempting to enter the U.S. illegally. The suspected migrant was then turned over to Border Patrol agents for disposition.

At approximately 7 a.m., the other swimmer came ashore and was apprehended by Border Patrol agents for disposition.

“I have been on the job less than a week, and this arrest and interdiction further demonstrates the phenomenal team of interagency port partners we have here in San Diego,” said Capt. Joe Buzzella, commander, Coast Guard Sector San Diego. “I am committed to continuing to strengthen our relationships to pursue smuggling of all types and protect lives at sea.”

The Marine Task Force and San Diego Regional Coordinating Mechanism are comprised of U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s Office of Field Operations, Air and Marine Operations, U.S. Border Patrol, Homeland Security Investigations, U.S. Coast Guard and other federal, state and local partners. Collectively, these regional partners plan and execute interagency operations leveraging partner agency authorities and jurisdictions to combat threat networks that seek to exploit the maritime approaches to the U.S.

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