Federal agents apprehend 21 Mexican nationals from two panga boats in local waters
Federal authorities intercepted 21 Mexican nationals who officials said were trying to enter the United States illegally in a pair of panga boats off Point Loma and Ocean Beach early July 3.
The boats were seen by a Customs and Border Protection aircraft crew at about 1 a.m. as they crossed from Mexican territorial waters toward the United States, authorities said. A CBP boat was sent to intercept one panga while a Coast Guard boat headed toward the other.
The CBP boat reached the first panga about 3:30 a.m. The panga’s captain did not obey orders to stop, and agents fired two warning shots, officials said. With no apparent response from the panga captain, the CBP crew fired a round into the panga’s engine, disabling it, according to CBP.
The boat stopped about five miles from Point Loma, and agents apprehended seven people on board.
People sailing the second boat did not obey Coast Guard orders to yield and ended up landing near Dog Beach in Ocean Beach, officials said. Border Patrol agents on the beach apprehended four people who tried to climb out of the boat, and nine others were found at a nearby park with help from CBP. Another person was found trying to swim away but was caught on the jetty, officials said.