Illegal Immigrants Disappear in San Diego After Beach Landing

Illegal Immigrants Disappear in San Diego After Beach Landing

A U.S. Border Patrol agent patrols on an all-terrain vehicle where the border wall ends in the Pacific Ocean along the U.S.-Mexico border between San Diego and Tijuana, during a tour with the U.S. Customs and Border Protection at International Friendship Park in San Diego County, Calif. on May 10, 2021. (Patrick T. Fallon/AFP via Getty Images)

Brad Jones

Brad Jones

1/25/2024

Updated: 1/30/2024

More than 20 illegal immigrants were caught on video arriving by sea at a San Diego beach early Thursday morning, vanishing into the streets of La Jolla before authorities could apprehend them.
The Joint Harbor Operations Center notified CBP law enforcement personnel of “two suspicious vessels” carrying suspected illegal migrants towards Ocean Beach at about 5:30 a.m. and Windansea Beach about two hours later, according to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP).
But, by the time U.S. Border Patrol and CBP Air and Marine agents responded, they found only the abandoned boats. The migrants had already fled.
“The vessel types and other nearby indicators are consistent with human smuggling,” CBP said in the statement emailed to The Epoch Times. “A search for both vessels’ occupants is underway.”
Manny Bayon, a National Border Patrol Council union spokesman in San Diego, told The Epoch Times he doubts the suspected illegal immigrants will ever be found or apprehended.
“They’re gone,” he said. “It’s like [trying to find] a needle in a haystack.”
In the video, San Diego lifeguards can be seen arriving at the scene as the illegal migrants run from the beach across a street and into town. One appears to be an unwilling child being dragged and carried by an adult.
The air and marine unit could have been dispatched to the area much more quickly had the U.S. Coast Guard given them “a heads up like ‘Hey we have a vessel coming across and it doesn’t look like it’s a fisherman out there lost at sea,’” Mr. Bayon said.
“If they were to tell us, we could notify dispatch and have a helicopter respond within minutes,” he said.
But, illegal immigration has become such a controversial issue that even the Coast Guard is avoiding it, he said.
“We could use the help from the U.S. Coast Guard, but they don’t want to touch it because it’s a political football,” he said.
“It’s funny,” he said. “How can we in San Diego not have any assistance from the U.S. Coast Guard, but in Florida, they’re intercepting Cuban and Dominican nationals all the time at sea?”
Human smugglers, called “coyotes,” working for Mexican drug cartels now know their smuggling operations went “unimpeded” at San Diego beaches,
“It entices the smuggling organizations,” he said.
Considering coyotes make anywhere from anywhere from $10,000 to $12,000 for each illegal immigrant they smuggle into the United States “with 20 you’re looking at over $200,000 from one trip back to the cartel,” Mr. Bayon said.
More than 20 suspected illegal immigrants can be seen in the video posted on X—formerly Twitter—but more than 30 from the two boats got away, he said.
Mr. Bayon said it’s disheartening to see CBP downplay these types of incidents.
“It upsets me that they—the U.S. Border Patrol PIO office—lightly sugarcoats it,” he said.
Also, on Jan. 25, illegal immigrants landed at Coronado Beach on jet skis, but they were apprehended, Mr. Bayon said.
“We are getting clobbered in ocean encounters,” he said.
Aside from illegal immigrants, agents are concerned about the potential volume of deadly drugs flowing into the United States, Mr. Bayon said.
Last weekend, San Diego CBP officers seized 472 pounds of methamphetamine, fentanyl, and cocaine with an estimated street value of $2.5 million that was hidden in vehicles.
The officers extracted 367 packages of narcotics from various areas of the vehicles, including the trunk, roof, firewall, air intake box, doors, floorboards, gas tanks, and quarter panels.
And on Jan. 18, Border Patrol agents seized more than 38 pounds of fentanyl hidden in a spare tire during a vehicle stop on Interstate 5 near the Vista Hermosa Highway exit.
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Brad Jones

Brad Jones

Author

Brad Jones is an award-winning journalist based in Southern California.

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