U.S. Customs Border Protection
A Border Patrol vehicle on scene where one woman died and dozens were taken into custody for attempting to illegally enter the U.S. Photo credit: OnScene.TV

One person died early Saturday following an attempt by a large group to illegally enter the U.S. by swimming around the border barrier near the beach at Border Field State Park.

The situation began at approximately 11:38 p.m. Friday, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection. Border Patrol agents received a report that a group of as many as 70 people were attempting to swim from Tijuana to the state park.

Once on scene, agents came across an unresponsive woman believed to be from the group of swimmers. They performed CPR on the victim while also calling in San Diego Fire-Rescue Department firefighters and lifeguards.

The efforts failed, and at approximately 12:30 a.m., the unresponsive woman was pronounced dead. The San Diego Medical Examiner arrived to take custody of the body.

Border Patrol agents, aided by Air and Marine Operations, the U.S. Coast Guard, SDFD and California State Parks officials, continued to search the area to locate any other swimmers.

During the search, agents took 36 adult Mexican nationals into custody – 25 men and 11 women, including 13 people the Coast Guard rescued from the water.

All 36 persons were transported to a nearby Border Patrol station for processing.

“This is yet another example of the ruthless tactics smuggling organizations use to bolster their power and profits.” said San Diego Sector’s Chief Patrol Agent Aaron Heitke. “We will work tirelessly to pursue and bring to justice those responsible for this tragedy.”

Following standard procedure, CBP’s Office of Professional Responsibility responded to the scene to investigate the incident.