Smuggling boat on beach in La Jolla
One of the smuggling boats on a beach in La Jolla. Courtesy CBP

U.S. Customs and Border Protection said Friday federal agents intercepted three smuggling boats around San Diego and arrested 30 people in a 24-hour period.

The first incident occurred at 2 p.m. on Thursday when a Coast Guard cutter encountered a 19-foot pleasure craft that was broken down and taking on water. Officers arrested six Mexican and four Chinese migrants who were aboard the sinking vessel.

Then, just after midnight,  a suspicious vessel was seen heading north near Trestles. The panga boat landed on a beach near San Mateo Point. Thirteen people got off the boat and ran into a nearby community, but the Border Patrol detained nine — six Chinese and three Mexican migrants.

The last incident began around 8 a.m., Friday morning when a beachgoer spotted a panga boat dropping off people near a beach in La Jolla. Border Patrol agents detailed 11 people, three from China and eight from Mexico. The boat and its captain were later apprehended at sea.

Officials said the San Diego Sector has seen a recent increase in maritime smuggling events, which they attributed to completion of the new 18-foot primary border-wall and the ongoing construction of the 30-foot secondary wall.

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.