Coast Guard, Customs and Border Protection find panga with 20 on board off San Diego coast
(Tribune News Service) — Federal authorities intercepted a panga with 20 suspected migrants on board late Sunday night off the coast of San Diego, Customs and Border Protection officials said Tuesday.
Customs agents detected the vessel, operating without lights, around 11 p.m. Sunday and directed a Coast Guard boat to its location about 18 nautical miles off the coast of La Jolla, according to a Customs and Border Protection news release.
Three of the suspected undocumented immigrants requested medical attention and were taken to hospitals for treatment of unspecified maladies, according to the news release. Border Patrol agents took the other 17 people into custody.
Authorities determined the group consisted of 10 men and four women from Mexico, two men and two women from Guatemala and two women from El Salvador.
Attempted border crossings by sea have become more common in the last few years, and last month three Mexican nationals died and several others were injured in the waters near Cabrillo National Monument after their boat crashed on a reef in large surf. Another person died a few weeks later in La Jolla when a panga holding more than a dozen people capsized near the shore.
In response to the increased ocean crossings, the Border Patrol in San Diego earlier this month reestablished a marine unit focused on intercepting smugglers who bring migrants and drugs into the country by sea.
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