A disabled boat found off the coast of Oceanside led to the detainment of 12 undocumented immigrants Monday, according the U.S. Border Patrol.
A privately-owned boat came across the disabled boat at about 11 a.m. and towed it to a nearby harbor, agents said.
Border Patrol agents were summoned after Oceanside Harbor Police officers intercepted the two boats. The agents determined the 12 people on board were Mexican nationals in the country illegally.
They learned that the boat departed Friday from Rosarito Beach in a Skipjack pleasure vessel. It was headed to Long Beach when it experienced problems and radioed an accomplice for assistance. The assistance never came, and the boat was left adrift for three days.
Four females and eight males were turned over to the U.S. Border Patrol for processing. The boat was seized by border patrol.
Recently the penalties for human smuggling at sea were increased by Border Patrol in collaboration with the U.S. Attorney's office and Homeland Security Investigations.