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22 illegals captured in Coast Guard sweep

March 2, 2009 8:25:05 PM PST
The U.S. Coast Guard intercepted 22 people suspected of attempting to enter the country illegally by boat just northwest of the U.S./Mexican border early Monday morning.At about 2:15 a.m., the Corona Del Mar-based Coast Guard Cutter Narwhal noticed a boat that did not have any lights on and was traveling at varying speeds, according to the Coast Guard Public Affairs Detachment of Los Angeles.

"The crew launched their small boat to investigate," said Coast Guard officials. "Once they were on scene with the overloaded panga [boat], the crew determined they needed more coverage and assistance."

The Coast Guard then launched an MH-60J helicopter and a 33-foot response boat. Coast Guard officers say their crew members transferred all 22 people to the Narwhal. The migrants were then taken to Ballast Point to be turned over to Customs and Border Protection agents. Officials say the nationality of all the suspected illegal immigrants is Mexican.

The Coast Guard says this was very dangerous for all of them.

"When people try to cross the border in this manner, it is very dangerous because they can fall overboard and succumb to hypothermia or drown," said a Coast Guard spokesperson.


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