San Diego — U.S. Customs and Border Protection marine interdiction crews in San Diego stopped two smuggling attempts last night, seizing a boat filled with nearly half a ton of marijuana in Mission Bay and stopping a boat off of Leucadia, Calif. with 17 illegal immigrants aboard.
At approximately 7:30 p.m. Tuesday night, a CBP Midnight Express interceptor vessel,
crewed by three marine interdiction agents, was on routine patrol when the agents spotted a suspicious boat tied up to a dock in Mission Bay. The 25-foot Formula powerboat, with a small cuddy cabin, appeared abandoned.
After boarding the vessel, agents discovered packages of marijuana inside the cabin and hidden within the floor. The marijuana weighed 997 pounds and is worth an estimated half a million dollars.
CBP seized the vessel, which is registered in California, and narcotics.
Early the next morning, at about 3:30 a.m., a CBP vessel on patrol crewed by two marine interdiction agents and a border patrol agent spotted a 36-foot panga, a small Mexican fishing boat, about two miles off shore from Leucadia, Calif. When the CBP vessel approached, the panga fled from law enforcement authorities. After a brief pursuit, the panga stopped and agents brought the vessel and 17 persons on board to shore.
U.S. Border Patrol agents took custody of one 16-year-old boy, 12 men, and four women, all of whom are Mexican citizens and illegal immigrants. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents continue to investigate the smuggling incident.