Third Smuggling Vessel in Two Months Washes Ashore in Del Mar
Federal agencies are investigating a fishing boat that washed ashore in Del Mar Tuesday. The vessel may have been used to smuggle people from Mexico into San Diego. KPBS Reporter Amy Isackson has the
(A boat that may have been used to smuggle people from Mexico into San Diego washes ashore at North Beach in Del Mar. ( Amy Isackson/KPBS )
Federal agencies are investigating a fishing boat that washed ashore in Del Mar Tuesday. The vessel may have been used to smuggle people from Mexico into San Diego. KPBS Reporter Amy Isackson has the story.
The 20-foot boat washed ashore at North Beach in Del Mar. On board were fishing poles with broken reels and no line.There were food wrappers with Spanish writing and a bag of lime wedges and radishes, which are popular taco condiments in Mexico.
Six life jackets were strewn on the path from the beach to the 101.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement spokeswoman Lauren Mack says her agency is investigating about 10 similar incidents that have occurred during the last six months at beaches in San Diego.
Mack: Looking into whether any of these single incidents are linked and attempting to find out whether an actual criminal organization is involved. We're attempting to locate not just the present owner of the boats but other owners that have previously owned these boats.
Law enforcement officials say the boat in Del Mar was registered to a La Jolla man who donated it to Children's Hospital. Children's raises money for the hospital through a vehicle and boat donation program.
Hospital spokesman Bill Metcalf says they, in turn, sold the boat to a used car dealer more than two years ago.
Keley Hill directs marine operations for Customs and Border Protection. He says it’s just like smugglers who buy cheap cars at auction to drive people through land border crossings
Hill: They'll pick up these cheap vehicles and they'll find somebody to drive it for them. It may be an alien that's part of the load. They'll be, hey, can you drive a boat? Yeah, I can drive a boat. Well, then you drive the boat and you get your transportation for free.
Hill says his agency seizes between 15 and 20 smuggling boats annually in San Diego.
Two washed up in La Jolla during the last two months.
Amy Isackson, KPBS News.