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Federal agents stopped two boats off the coast of San Diego, CA early Thursday morning May 7, 2020 with 18 people attempting to illegally enter the United States. For one of the boats, agents had to disable the engine before the vessel was stopped less than a mile from the beaches in Coronado.

Agents in a multi-role enforcement aircraft spotted a boat that crossed into U.S. territorial waters from Mexico. The agents in the aircraft tracked the boat and directed the crew of a border patrol coastal intercept vessel to its location. Just after midnight, when marine interdiction agents turned on the lights and sirens on their vessel, the boat came to a stop about eight nautical miles west of Point Loma; agents counted 10 individuals on board.

Shortly after identifying the first boat, the agents in the aircraft again spotted another boat that crossed into United States territorial waters from Mexico. The agents tracked the second boat and directed a border patrol crew to where the boat was heading. 

Again, marine interdiction agents signaled the boat to stop; however, in this instance, the boat instead failed to stop when directed and fled. 

Air and Marine Operations alerted partners within the San Diego Regional Coordinating Mechanism to prepare for a possible vessel landing along the coastline, and law enforcement partners deployed.

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Ultimately, marine interdiction agents pursued the boat, stopping it safely at sea by using special tactical training to fire on, and disable, the boat’s engine. The pursuit ended about one-quarter nautical mile offshore from Coronado. Agents counted eight individuals on board.

In both cases, marine interdiction agents brought the boats with their occupants to the dock in San Diego, where they turned the individuals over to U.S. Border Patrol agents for processing. 

From the first boat, agents identified: seven men, ages 23-38; two women, ages 29 and 39; and a teenage boy, age 17. 

And from the second boat, U.S. Border Patrol agents identified: six men, ages 23-38, and two women, both age 29. Agents determined that all 18 were Mexican nationals with no legal ability to enter the United States. They were immediately expelled back to Mexico under Title 42 authority.

Both boats were processed for seizure and forfeiture: a 25-foot panga and a 17-foot, open-hull pleasure craft.