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22 suspected illegal immigrants on their way home today after trying to land on shore near Camp Pendleton

SAN DIEGO - Twenty-two would-be immigrants taken off a boat whose captain tried to beach it at Camp Pendleton were on their way back to their home countries today.

Twenty Mexicans, a Guatemalan and a Colombian were suffering from exposure when they were discovered about 3:30 a.m. Friday, authorities said.

Oceanside Harbor Police and U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents took the suspects into custody and turned them over to the Border Patrol.

If the smuggler can be identified and authorities can get some of the others to testify against him, federal agents may prosecute the smuggler and let the witnesses stay in the country.

CAMP PENDLETON - U.S. Border Patrol agents arrested 22 suspected illegal immigrants today after they tried to land on shore near Camp Pendleton, according to a published report.

Authorities said the 20 Mexicans, one Guatemalan and one Columbian had been at sea for an extended time and were suffering from sun exposure and dehydration, the Los Angeles Times reported tonight on its website.

Agents with U.S. Customs and Border Protection spotted a panga boat carrying the passengers near shore about 3:30 a.m., The Times reported.

Officers from Oceanside Harbor police assisted in preventing an escape back to sea by the people on the boat.

The immigrants were taken to a Border Patrol office for processing. Authorities were conducting an investigation of those responsible for the smuggling attempt.


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