Coast Guard helicopter
A Coast Guard helicopter. Photo via

The U.S. Coast Guard intercepted a boat off the La Jolla coast with 19 people aboard, all suspected of trying to enter the United States illegally, an official confirmed Sunday.

A Coast Guard vessel detected the boat shortly before 2 a.m. Saturday, Petty Officer 1st Class Patrick Kelley said.

The boat was intercepted about 8 miles west of Windansea Beach in La Jolla, Customs and Border Protection officials said. No description of the watercraft was released.

All of the 19 people aboard were believed to be undocumented immigrants and were taken into custody. Two of them were arrested on suspicion of human smuggling, officials said.

It’s at least the sixth known smuggling boat incident in recent weeks.

On Sept. 9 and 10, border patrol agents apprehended a total of 26 suspected undocumented immigrants in two separate apparent boat smuggling attempts.

As many as 25 people may have come ashore illegally in Pacific Beach on Sept. 6, though none were caught, and 19 people were arrested when their panga boat came landed at Ponto Beach in Carlsbad the day before.

And on Aug. 26, another panga boat carrying 19 suspected undocumented immigrants was stopped off the coast of Point Loma and everyone aboard was taken into custody.

–City News Service