Border Patrol begs public to help stop maritime smugglers

Interceptor_2dmidnight_2dexpresIf you see something, say something. That’s the motto being used by the U.S. Border Patrol on the Southern California coastline, where we reported last week more agents were being sent to intercept drug and human smugglers via waterways.

The Coast News of California reported that Border Patrol agent Edward Cleary spoke to local residents recently, asking for their help in watching out for smugglers along the Del Mar coast.

Traditional land routes are being blocked by agents “‘hardening the border’ — adding miles of intensified border fences, as well as cameras and sensors — as well as a big increase in patrolling,” Reuters reported in a Jan. 11 article.

Now, with U.S. Customs and Border Protection seeing an increase in Mexican smugglers using panga-style boats, the agency is sending more patrols to the coastline.

Cleary told residents the Coastal Border Enforcement Team, made up of Border Patrol agents, Coast Guard and local police, “can’t be everywhere” at all times, so residents are being asked to immediately report suspicious activity, including “a whole bunch of people running through your neighborhood at 2 or 3 in the morning into a van.”

Smugglers look for secluded locations without a police presence to make their landings, and when they do, “everyone jumps out and runs to a van or pickup truck,” Cleary said.

Del Mar has had two such incidences in December, prompting Border Patrol to turn to the community for help in scouting out suspicious activity.

“The agency’s San Diego Sector, which employs some 2,600 agents to police 60 miles of land border and 114 miles of coast, has seen maritime apprehensions triple in the past five years while arrests on land have dropped to less than a sixth of 2008 levels,” the Border Patrol told Reuters.

Read the Coast News article here.


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