Sports boat stopped in human trafficking incident off Mission Bay

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) – More than a dozen people are being questioned by customs and border protection after their boat is said to have entered the United States illegally on Sunday.

At approximately 12:45 p.m., a US Coast Guard spotted a suspicious vessel entering the Mission Bay channel.

USCG crews were able to pull over and board the 31-foot sports boat. The ship was returned to San Diego Lifeguard headquarters where its occupants were transferred to CBP.

No injuries were reported.

A spokesperson for the US Border Patrol confirmed the individuals were undocumented. The incident is still under investigation.

MORE: In detail: Why human trafficking by boat has increased

Authorities announced earlier this week that they would increase patrols during the holiday weekend until June 1, covering the sea, land and air.

“The smugglers do not respect the nautical safety standards. These are long and dangerous excursions, with overloaded ships traveling without navigation lights and safety equipment, ”said Brandon Tucker, deputy director of flight operations, US customs and border protection, air and maritime operations. , San Diego Air and Marine Branch.

“People need to understand that they are risking their lives at the hands of smugglers who only value the money they get paid,” Tucker said.

In a detailed report from ABC 10News and an interview with Dr Ev Meade, director of the Trans-Border Institute at the University of San Diego, Meade said that a trip with a boat courier costs migrants about three times as much. expensive than a trip with a ferryman on the ground.

“We will definitely hit a record this year for maritime apprehensions,” said Meade.

“They come to work,” Meade said. “It’s because the economies of their home country were devastated by the pandemic and we recovered faster than them.”

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