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Seafaring smugglers' attempts to land illegal immigrants in U.S. foiled

November 3, 2009 |  3:07 pm

Mexican immigrant trafficking groups continue trying to smuggle illegal immigrants by boat, with federal authorities disrupting three attempts to land immigrants on San Diego County beaches and harbors since Saturday, according to the U.S. Border Patrol.

The most recent incident occurred early Tuesday morning, when agents spotted a 15-foot boat heading toward Beacon's Beach in Encinitas. Agents arrested 21 illegal immigrants -- 19 men and two women -- on the beach.

On Saturday, agents intercepted an 18-foot Bayliner carrying eight illegal immigrants off Imperial Beach near the border. The next day, 10 Mexican citizens and three Bolivians were arrested at the Oceanside Harbor marina after being dropped off by a 22-foot Cobalt boat.

The latest incidents are part of a surge in maritime smuggling attempts as traffickers avoid increased enforcement on land.

-- Richard Marosi in San Diego