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Immigrant-smuggling boat drops 21 at Carlsbad State Beach in darkness, officials say

October 2, 2009 | 12:58 pm

Twenty-one suspected illegal immigrants were arrested early this morning at Carlsbad State Beach, Calif., after U.S. Border Patrol agents spotted a smuggling boat bringing its passengers ashore, officials said.

The 21, all Mexican nationals, consisted of 15 men, five women, and a 16-year-old boy, officials said. Only three were wearing safety vests.

The boat, with two people aboard, was spotted leaving the beach and was not located, officials said.

The incident, which occurred about 2:30 a.m., is the latest in which smugglers appear to be dropping their passengers further north than in previous years, attempting to evade authorities.

-- Tony Perry in San Diego