Uptick in Maritime Smuggling After Completion of New Border Fence

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Posted: Nov 08, 2019 4:30 PM
Uptick in Maritime Smuggling After Completion of New Border Fence

Source: AP Photo/Eric Gay

A U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) official says the agency is seeing an "uptick" in maritime smuggling activity near San Diego, and that it's "probable" the uptick is related to the nearby border fencing that was recently completed, according to a report from FOX 5 San Diego.

Jeff McAdam reports that a smuggling boat came ashore on Black's Beach early Wednesday morning. The Coast Guard had been following the boat as it came to shore and seven individuals exited the craft. Two of those individuals were identified as smugglers, one of which had to be rescued by a helicopter after attempting to climb a nearby cliff. 

Just up the beach, another boat landed days earlier carrying nine individuals on board. Six of those individuals turned out to be Chinese nationals.

Wednesday's incident marks the 15th smuggling boat taken into custody by Border Patrol agents since October 1. 

"Well, there's no doubt we are seeing an uptick in maritime activity," a Border Patrol agent told McAdams. "It's probable that it's related to the increased border infrastructure."

In August, a $147 million border project was completed in San Diego. The new barrier replaced old steel panels from the mid-90s that had been as low as four feet in some areas. The new border project was funded by the Trump administration in 2017 but was part of an original plan proposed by the Obama administration in 2009. Perhaps the reinforced barrier is why CBP has noticed an uptick in recent weeks.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) announced the arrests of 57 people and the confiscation of more than $3 million worth of narcotics during a four-day period beginning October 4. In one incident, a sailing boat carrying 12 Mexican nationals was taken into custody. Two of the passengers were identified as smugglers, and all were taken to a Border Patrol station for processing. 

Another incident involved a boat that had docked at the Coronado ferry landing. Agents apprehended 11 illegal aliens as they exited the boat. Agents also intercepted a boat carrying 20 illegal aliens, who were similarly taken to a Border Patrol Station for processing. 

In one incident, agents responded to a call of 10 individuals who had come to shore on a boat then immediately fled the scene in a vehicle that was waiting nearby. Officials were able to confirm later the incident was a smuggling event. 

CBP warns that maritime smuggling is extremely dangers for numerous reasons, and says, "smugglers will prioritize monetary gain over the wellbeing of their passengers."