Nearly 1,500 pounds of marijuana and methamphetamine were intercepted by maritime law enforcement agents in separate incidents off the coast of San Diego County over the weekend, the agency announced on Tuesday.
The drugs were seized within a 14-hour period from two suspected smuggling boats by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agents working with the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG).
CBP said the first panga was spotted in the middle of the night on Saturday heading north along the coast of San Diego. USCG attempted to stop the 28-foot vessel that was driving in the dark with no headlights, but the boat did not stop. Instead, it "aggressively" rammed the backside of the USCG cutter, CBP said.
CBP maritime crews joined the pursuit. During, the panga continued to smash into the CBP vessel, the agency said.
"This case demonstrates how by failing to heave to the vessels’ crew orders, the subjects had no regard for the safety of AMO agents and USCG officers," said Timothy Sutherland with CBP Air and Marine Operations.
Agents fired "several disabling rounds into the suspects' engine to bring it to a stop" near Oceanside.
Onboard, CBP found four people and 528 pounds of meth.
About 14 hours later, at 3:30 p.m., the USCG noticed a suspicious fishing boat docked in San Diego Bay. It was not clear why the boat was considered suspicious.
CBP maritime agents boarded the fishing boat and found two undocumented people inside and 941 pounds of cellophane-wrapped packages of marijuana.
In both cases, the occupants were arrested and turned over to the Department of Homeland Security to be investigated. The drugs were seized.