Authorities again detained a boat off the San Diego coast that carried 23 suspected undocumented immigrants early Friday, Feb 5th, according to the Los Angeles Times. The boat was intercepted by a Coast Guard cutter on patrol nearly seven miles from land. In mid January another boat capsized while trying to come ashore at Torrey Pines State Beach in the northern part of the county which resulted in fatalities.

The migrants are loaded up in small pangas in Mexico and navigate mostly at night miles from shore without navigational equipment in hopes of entering California undetected. Recent security measures, including multiple layers of fencing, remote cameras and sensors and lighting, has made illegal entry by land very difficult and prompted more smugglers to try their luck ferrying their human cargo by sea.

I accompanied a Customs and Border Protection, the enforcement arm of the Dept of Homeland Security responsible for the nation’s borders, marine unit last spring. The unit employs high powered speed boats and is equipped with the latest technology for running “lights out” in an attempt to prevent the smugglers from breaching the border by sea. In addition, the CBP uses Black Hawk helicopters and other aircraft to work in tandem with the marine patrols.

To see images, click here

Todd Bigelow Photography

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