SAN DIEGO – Members of the San Diego Maritime Unified Command apprehended seven suspected undocumented migrants outside of Mission Bay, Calif., after fishermen in the area alerted them to a suspicious vessel Sunday morning.
The suspects and vessel were taken into Mission Bay, where they were turned over to U.S. Border Patrol’s Coastal Border Enforcement Team.
The Joint Harbor Operation Center received a call from a fishing boat approximately one mile west of Mission Bay at 6:30 a.m., reporting a disabled suspicious vessel in the area.
The passengers of the 21-foot Mexican-registered boat seemed disoriented and offered the fishermen money to take them into Mission Bay.
A 33-foot Special Purpose Craft- Law Enforcement boat crew launched from U.S. Coast Guard Station San Diego to respond to the report, and San Diego Lifeguards were requested to assist and also responded to the scene.
The Coast Guard crew took the seven people aboard their boat and the Lifeguards towed the suspected smuggling boat to shore.
The suspects and vessel were taken into Mission Bay, where they were turned over to U.S. Border Patrol agents. Border Patrol agents determined the seven individuals were Mexican nationals who had entered the U.S. illegally.
“This is a good example of local mariners reporting something that seemed out of place that resulted in the disruption of a smuggling attempt,” said Lt. Bill Burwell, Coast Guard Sector San Diego public affairs officer. “If anyone observes suspicious activity they are encouraged to contact the Coast Guard on Marine Channel 16.”
For more information on reporting suspicious activity, visit the America’s Waterway Watch website.
The U.S. Coast Guard and Border Patrol are member agencies of the Maritime Unified Command. The MUC is comprised of the U.S. Coast Guard, CBP’s Office of Air & Marine and U.S. Border Patrol, ICE and state and local law enforcement partners operating in the San Diego and Orange County maritime domain. The MUC utilizes the fusion of intelligence, planning and operations to target the threat of transnational crime along the coastal border.