On the night of September 9, the crew of a plane attached to the Air and Marine Operations (AMO) division of CBP spotted a panga boat loaded with illegal aliens leaving Mexican waters and headed toward the California coast.
After tracking the boat for a period of time, the crew alerted another AMO plane which continued to follow the vessel for a total of six hours as it made its way toward San Diego. A CBP boat was alerted and the boat crew intercepted the panga around 3:00 am. The boat’s driver heeded orders to stop and allow Border Patrol agents to board. There they found 15 Mexican nationals, including the driver, 11 men and 4 women in all. The driver was arrested and is expected to be charged with human smuggling. The passengers were processed for immediate expulsion back to Mexico.
“The coordination here was key,” said Tim Sutherland, Director of Operations for the San Diego Air and Marine Branch of U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Air and Marine Operations. “We had three crews spread across two aircraft and a vessel working together for many, many hours before we were able to apprehend these individuals safely while they were still at sea.”
For more, see the CBP website.