21 arrested by Border Patrol after boat comes ashore near San Diego

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IMPERIAL BEACH, Calif. — Border Patrol agents arrested 21 people in Imperial Beach after a smuggling boat came ashore early Monday morning, officials said.

The panga was spotted around 3:30 a.m. at the south end of Seacoast Drive and a group of people got off and ran. Agents quickly located 13 people near the intersection of Seacoast and Encanto Avenue.

More agents responded and found eight additional people near Seacoast and Cortez Avenue.

The group included 14 men from Mexico, six woman from Mexico and one woman from Guatamala. All 21 were taken to a Border Patrol station for processing. Two of the men arrested will face human-smuggling charges, officials said. The panga was seized.

“Smugglers often overcrowd small open bow vessels that are typically unsafe,” Chief Patrol Agent Aaron Heitke said in a statement. “Sea conditions, visibility and weather are not important considerations to smugglers as they place an emphasis on profit over their victims’ safety.”

Border Patrol officials ask anyone who sees suspected smuggling activities to call the San Diego sector office at (619) 498-9900.


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