The smuggling boat used in Sunday’s incident is tied up near the cruise ship terminal. Courtesy cBP

Improvements to the border wall in the San Diego area have led to a significant increase in maritime smuggling in recent weeks.

The Border Patrol said Tuesday there have been 15 maritime smuggling incidents since Oct. 1 resulting in 72 arrests.

“With infrastructure improvements along the land border, San Diego Sector Border Patrol agents are proactively targeting a growing number of maritime smuggling events,” the agency said.

The most recent maritime incident occurred around 8 a.m. Sunday morning near Laurel Street and North Harbor Drive in downtown San Diego. Agents spotted a suspicious boat and were waiting when it docked. Eleven Mexican nationals were arrested, one of whom was identified as a smuggler.

The Department of Homeland Security has replaced 14 miles of eight-foot fencing made of dilapidated Vietnam War-era helicopter landing mats with 18-foot-high steel bollard fencing and a secondary 30-foot steel bollard barrier.

The Border Patrol vowed that as smugglers change their tactics, agents will use use enhanced situational awareness to counter smuggling efforts.

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Chris Jennewein

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