Cutter Sea Otter interdicts smugglers, 1,400 pounds of drugs

SAN DIEGO – The Coast Guard apprehended two smuggglers and recovered approximately 1,400 pounds of marijuana near Point Loma early Saturday morning.

The Joint Harbor Operations Center (JHOC) received a call at 6:40 a.m., from a concerned citizen who spotted a boat that had been beached in the Sunset Cliffs area, and the occupants appeared to be unloading something from the boat to another location.

The Coast Guard Cutter Sea Otter was sent to the scene to investigate. Upon arrival, the crew took two suspected smugglers into custody and the panga into tow to transport them to San Diego to turn over to Border Patrol.

The person who originally reported the beached panga also told authorities the location of the cave where the contraband was being offloaded from the panga. San Diego Police Department, Coastal Border Enforcement Team and the San Diego Lifeguards were all on scene, and the lifeguards removed the bales of marijuana from the cave to a Coast Guard 33-foot patrol boat. The drugs were then transported to San Diego and turned over to Maritime Task Force.

The interdiction was part of a coordinated effort by member agencies of the San Diego Maritime Unified Command; the U.S. Coast Guard, Border Patrol, Customs and Border Protection, and San Diego Police Department. San Diego Maritime Unified Command, comprised of CPB, ICE, the Coast Guard, and other law enforcement partners, is an all-threats multi-agency approach to maritime law enforcement operating in the San Diego and Orange County maritime region.

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