CBP agents apprehended illegal drug smugglers when they attempted to come ashore in the upscale community of Malibu. Officers immediately arrested three Mexican nationals following the interdiction when agents spotted numerous bales of marijuana.
The weekend bust made by Customs and Border Protection (CBP) confiscated approximately one-and-a-half tons of weed wrapped in cellophane.
CBP stated that they were working with the California National Guard when they spotted the panga-like vessel cruising slowly along the coastline. The National Guard unit alerted Border Patrol agents and the Los Angeles County Sheriffs, who responded to the Point Dume State Beach after midnight.
According to agents on the scene, the three men who illegally entered the U.S. were arrested and turned over to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and will face multiple charges. The weight of the marijuana totaled 2,575 pounds and an estimated street value of $1, 287, 500.
“The Department of Homeland Security has increased coastal-border security in Southern California (as) transnational criminal organizations have shifted their smuggling tactics further north into Los Angeles and Ventura Counties,” Scott E. Simon,U.S. Border Patrol Agent for the San Diego Sector Information and Communication Division said. “As a result, CBP and its partners have intensified efforts to target the illegal activity, expanding the use of marine patrols, land-based surveillance, and collaboration with the Government of Mexico.”
These multi-agency task forces are a key component to interdict maritime drug smugglers along California’s 840-mile coastline.
The CBP logged 26 unauthorized maritime smuggling attempts during fiscal year 2011 in the Los Angeles/Ventura area. So far this year, 2012, the multi-agency CBP task force has recorded 14 maritime incidents along the southern California beaches, including three in Ventura County and one in Santa Barbara County.
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