A 25-foot panga boat loaded with 1,460 pounds of marijuana landed under the cover of darkness on a north San Diego County beach earlier today. Border Patrol agents quickly responded to the beach landing and apprehended three men for attempting to smuggle drugs into the U.S.
The panga-style boat was spotted by the California National Guard Entry Identification Team that assists with Border Patrol maritime enforcement, who observed a suspicious boat traveling along the San Diego County coastline near Carlsbad.
“Border Patrol agents responded to the area and observed the boat had come ashore just north of the [Carlsbad] power plant,” said Scott Simon a spokesman for Border Patrol. “Agents conducted a search of the area and arrested a 31-year-old Mexican national and a 29-year-old United States citizen who had fled from the beached boat. A search of the panga revealed five fuel containers and 19 bundles of marijuana with a total weight of 1459.9 pounds and an estimated street value of $729,950.”
The Carlsbad Police also conducted a search of the area and located another individual inside a vehicle. “They [Carlsbad Police] stopped a suspicious vehicle for further questioning… Border Patrol agents responded to the scene and took custody of a 29-year-old Nicaraguan national who was legally present in the U.S,” according to Simon.
The three suspected drug smugglers, marijuana, car, and panga boat were turned over to Immigration and Customs Enforcement Homeland Security Investigations Marine Task Force for further examination.
The Maritime Unified Command utilizes the fusion of law enforcement agencies, intelligence, planning and operations to target the threat of transnational crime along the Southern California coastal border. Border Patrol encourages residents to report suspicious maritime activity to the Joint Harbor Operations Center at 1-800-854-9834.
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