U.S. Border Patrol agents arrested 15 undocumented immigrants early Friday morning after a panga boat washed ashore in the Mission Beach area.
The 35-foot vessel was spotted on the ocean moving north, directly west of Belmont Park, by agents from the Imperial Beach Station at around 3:45 a.m., U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) said.
Border Patrol agents in a boat and helicopter from the CBP Office of Air and Marine were called to the location. When the panga arrived on shore around 4 a.m., agents were waiting to take the passengers into custody.
The boat remained beached early Friday near the boardwalk, about a half-mile north of Belmont Park. By 6 a.m., the panga passengers were no longer at the scene and had been arrested, according to a resident who witnessed the incident.
That Mission Beach resident told NBC 7 he woke up to the commotion and counted at least 14 people being arrested at the beach near the boat. He said the suspects were all told to lie down on the boardwalk while agents cuffed them and secured the scene.
CBP officials confirmed 14 men and one woman were on board the panga – all of whom were Mexican nationals. They ranged in age from 12 to 47 years old, officials said. An agent did said every person on the boat was arrested and there were no outstanding suspects.
The undocumented immigrants were all taken to a local Border Patrol station for processing and the U.S. Border Patrol hauled away the vessel.