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California Briefing / San Diego

Smuggling boats stopped; 18 held

October 15, 2009|Richard Marosi

Federal authorities intercepted two smuggling boats Tuesday off San Diego County in separate incidents in which some suspected illegal immigrants appear to have escaped after wading to shore.

Customs and Border Protection agents patrolling the coast about 3:30 a.m. arrested two suspected smugglers on a boat eight miles offshore. The men, both Mexican citizens, had just dropped off six passengers at a beach in Carlsbad, and two of those were later arrested, authorities said. The other four were not found.

About 11 p.m., a U.S. Coast Guard helicopter and vessel intercepted a small boat in San Diego's Mission Bay. Fourteen suspected illegal immigrants were taken off the boat and arrested.

One immigrant escaped by swimming toward the beach.

-- Richard Marosi

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