Wednesday, September 24, 2008

22 seized in boat, believed to be illegal immigrants (San Diego Union-Tribune)

22 seized in boat, believed to be illegal immigrants [2nd Item]

SAN DIEGO: Nearly two dozen Mexicans in a fishing boat were intercepted by U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents early yesterday off the coast of Torrey Pines, officials said.

At 3:30 a.m., authorities on patrol spotted a blue-and-white 26-foot panga vessel loaded with 22 suspected illegal immigrants.

Agents said they saw the boat as it was heading south at high speed without navigation lights. The boat stopped after a brief chase about a mile west of the Torrey Pines Golf Course, officials said.

The 16 men and six women aboard were wearing life vests. They were turned over to the Border Patrol to be processed for deportation.

Two of the men face possible federal charges of human smuggling, officials said. Three of the people in the group were detained as witnesses. The panga also was seized. –A.M.

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