Unlit, ill-equipped and overloaded

Smugglers popped in waters off O.B. pier

Customs and Border Patrol officials, working in cooperation with the U.S. Coast Guard, seized an "unlit and overloaded vessel" packed with undocumented immigrants off the municipal fishing pier in Ocean Beach on Monday night (February 8).

According to a Customs report, a patrol boat received word at around 10:30 p.m. that a pleasure craft had crossed the international border and appeared to be dead in the water near the pier. A Border Patrol helicopter then located the vessel and directed maritime agents to the location. They found "an unlit, ill-equipped and overloaded vessel with nine persons on board," all of whom were later deemed to be in the country illegally.

"I’m thankful that our Agents were able to interrupt this maritime smuggling attempt safely, protecting the lives of both the occupants of this vessel as well as the entire boating public," Customs director of marine operations Jeremey Thompson said in the same release, adding that operating a boat in such a fashion as the alleged smugglers did "poses an extreme risk to the lives and safety of all the passengers on board."

The boat's operator and navigator were arrested, and all passengers were transported to the Customs dock in San Diego Bay where they were turned over to Border Patrol officials for processing.

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