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Coast Guard Rescues 24 On Migrant Smuggling Boat

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Aired 1/8/10

The United States Coast Guard rescued 24 people from a migrant smuggling boat off San Diego's coast. The arrest Thursday night is part of a continuing trend of smuggling by sea.

— The United States Coast Guard rescued 24 people from a migrant smuggling boat off San Diego's coast. The arrest Thursday night is part of a continuing trend of smuggling by sea.

US Coast Guard officials said someone on the boat called 911.

The person said the boat was disabled and adrift and they needed to be rescued.

A Coast Guard cutter and helicopter found the vessel about four miles off the coast of Point Loma.

Jetta Disco with the Coast Guard said the boat was overloaded. It was 20 feet long and carrying two dozen people.

"They were definitely cold. It was cold. And, you know, because it was foggy out there was dampness on them," she said. "Some of them were shivering. But they were very grateful to be rescued."

Smuggling illegal immigrants by sea has been on the rise in San Diego since the fall of 2008.

Local Customs and Border Protection officials say they arrested 430 people between October 2008 and October 2009. That's nearly double the number of arrests compared to the previous fiscal year.

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