A group of Border Patrol (CBP) agents captured 34 people attempting to enter the United States illegally off the coast of California in two operations, officials said Tuesday.
The first arrest occurred last Sunday when a Department of Homeland Security (DHS) plane observed a suspicious boat entering U.S. waters from Mexico.
After receiving the information, immigration authorities managed to intercept the ship at Point Loma, California, a few miles from the Mexican border.
A total of 21 people between the ages of 19 and 59 were travelling on that ship. Four of them were identified as suspected smugglers, two of whom are U.S. citizens: a 39-year-old man and a 21-year-old woman, according to authorities.
The second operation occurred this Monday when a small boat was detected 13 miles west of San Clemente, in the state itself.
A chase broke out at sea, and the “panga” reached the beaches of San Clemente, where, upon landing, more than a dozen foreigners attempted to flee on foot.
Thirteen foreigners were detained, nine of them identified as Mexican adults, two as minors also from Mexico and two Chinese adults.
At least one foreigner managed to escape.
In a statement, CBP stressed that all those captured “were determined to remain in the country illegally.
“With adverse weather conditions and approaching storms, smuggling in the maritime domain will increase the dangers at sea and on the coast,” said Douglas Harrison, head of CBP, San Diego Sector.
“As I said before, it’s not worth putting your life in the hands of exploitative and unconscious smugglers,” he warned.
On the other hand, in Texas, the CBP office said today in a statement that during the recent holiday weekend 35 immigrants who tried to enter the country undocumented were arrested. Nine alleged human traffickers were also arrested.
Among the detainees are migrants from Mexico, Ecuador, Honduras and El Salvador.