Also serving the communities of De Luz, Rainbow, Camp Pendleton, Pala and Pauma

34 illegal immigrants apprehended, 1,398 pounds of marijuna seized

SAN DIEGO - Federal authorities apprehended 34 undocumented immigrants and seized 1,398 pounds of marijuana in three separate smuggling attempts along San Diego County's coastline, officials said today.

The first attempt occurred about 5 p.m. Monday as U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents on boat patrol stopped another vessel after it crossed into U.S. waters from Mexico. The 28-foot vessel, called ''Oh Yeah,'' contained 291 plastic-wrapped packages of marijuana hidden under a false deck floor, according to Jackie Dizdul of CBP.

A 47-year-old man, who is a U.S. citizen, was arrested.

On Tuesday, two more smuggling attempts were thwarted.

About 1:30 a.m. Tuesday, a U.S. Coast Guard crew on helicopter patrol spotted a panga boat with illegal immigrants on board off the coast of Oceanside. According to CBP, the boat docked at Bataquitos Lagoon in the Encinitas area and at least 15 men and one woman came ashore.

Eight were immediately taken into custody and the remaining eight were apprehended within the hour with help from sheriff's deputies, Dizdul said, adding that all 16 were Mexican citizens.

Less than four hours later -- about 5 a.m. Tuesday -- a second panga boat carrying at least 18 illegal immigrants was spotted near Camp Pendleton. According to CBP, officers from the Marine installation detained 13 men and five women, and all were Mexican citizens.

The boat, and possibly its driver, was pushed back out to sea, Dizdul said, adding the Coast Guard and CBP searched for it by air but could not locate the vessel.


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