Suspected drug traffickers lead agents on boat chase
Two suspected drug traffickers in a small motorboat
full of marijuana led federal agents on an ocean chase from the La Jolla area
to near the Orange County line early Tuesday before being captured.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers in a patrol aircraft spotted
the skiff traveling to the north without required navigational lights about
12:45 a.m., then noticed that it was loaded with numerous suspicious-looking
bales, CBP spokesman Ralph DeSio said.
The personnel alerted a federal interceptor boat patrolling in the area
about the possible in-progress smuggling run, and the government vessel caught
up to the suspects near Del Mar, he said.
The men aboard the skiff fled from the officers along the northern
reaches of the San Diego County coast until the agents managed to stop them
about 3:30 p.m., roughly 12 miles southwest of Laguna Beach.
The personnel arrested the two Mexican nationals and impounded 38 bales
of cannabis piled on the motorboat. The haul of marijuana had an estimated
street value of about $4.1 million, the spokesman said.
The suspects, whose names were not released, and the contraband were
turned over to Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents in San Diego.