U.S. Coast Guard crews intercepted five people suspected of working as refuelers for smuggling vessels approximately 100 miles south of San Diego, Sunday morning.
At approximately 3:20 a.m., the crew of Coast Guard Cutter Midgett detected the panga. After a brief chase ending in the use of disabling fire on the vessel’s engine, the suspects were detained and brought to San Diego. The smuggling vessel was seized and the crew were turned over to U.S. Border Patrol.
Refueling at sea is a tactic smugglers have adopted to allow them to carry illicit cargo further out to sea and north along the California coast.
Press Release, November 19, 2013; Image: USCG