Two Indian nationals were among 19 immigrants arrested on Aug. 27 by U.S. Border Patrol agents in California for entering the United States illegally by boat from Mexico.
Agents determined that all the detainees except the two Indians were Mexican nationals.
The U.S. Customs and Border Protection said that at around 11:15 pm on the night of Aug.26, its Air and Marine Operations (AMO) aircraft spotted a Panga-style vessel entering the U.S. territorial waters from Mexico with multiple people on board. The AMO informed U.S. Coast Guard about the suspicious activity.
At around 3:45 am the next morning, the Coast Guard stopped the boat approximately 24 km west of Point Loma. The Coast Guard contacted the U.S. Border Patrol and met at the San Diego Coast Guard dock.
As many as 19 people were intercepted in this operation. Two of them were identified as suspected smugglers while the other 17 persons were passengers illegally present in the United States. All the 19 male illegal immigrants were arrested and taken to a nearby Border Patrol station for further proceeding, the statement said.
The suspected smugglers were taken into the custody by the Department of Home Security, where they may be subjected to the charges of human smuggling. The AMO seized the Panga-styled vessel — a type of modest-sized, open, outboard-powered, fishing boat.
The number of Indians crossing the United States-Mexico border illegally is at an all-time high this year, Fox News reported earlier this month. Over 3,400 people from India have been caught trying to cross into the United States from Mexico so far this fiscal year by border security agents at the El Centro town of California, it said.
In the second week of this month, 45 illegal immigrants were arrested in the Houston area for violating immigration laws under Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) of Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Border Patrol agents had also apprehended 78 foreigners, who were found inside a locked refrigerated trailer in Texas, on Aug.11. Officials had then confirmed that the Indian nationals were among the detainees of these both operations.