Reporting from Carlsbad, Calif. — Three men were arrested Tuesday in what the U.S. Border Patrol said was an attempt to smuggle 1,460 pounds of marijuana worth $729,950 into the United States aboard a 25-foot, open-hulled panga boat.
Two of the suspects — a 31-year-old Mexican national and a 29-year-old U.S. citizen — were apprehended as they attempted to flee after the boat washed ashore about 1:30 a.m. at Carlsbad State Beach, officials said. Minutes later, Carlsbad police stopped a vehicle being driven by a 29-year-old Nicaraguan national who was in the United States legally. He was turned over to Border Patrol agents.
The boat had been detected by California Army National Guard troops working with the Border Patrol to spot smugglers heading north along the San Diego County coast. Helicopters, night-vision goggles and other high-tech gear are part of the arsenal employed in the hunt.
A search of the boat captured Tuesday revealed five fuel containers and 19 bundles of marijuana, officials said. The three men, the boat and the other vehicle were turned over to Immigration and Customs Enforcement.