More than a dozen people were aboard a boat that washed ashore in Oceanside late Sunday in what U.S. Customs and Border Protection called Wednesday a possible smuggling attempt.
Around 15 to 20 people with life jackets on jumped off the boat as it landed near Buccaneer Beach at about 10:45 p.m., Oceanside police said. The group ran up the beach and jumped into at least two vehicles waiting for them.
U.S. Border Patrol agents were called to investigate the incident but could not locate any of the individuals involved, the agency said.
The large boat could be seen splashing in waves in the dark of night leading into the Fourth of July holiday. CBP said their Air and Marine Operations team seized the vessel.
CBP said there has been an increase in maritime human smuggling attempts, which are dangerous and often deadly.
Since October, 229 illegal maritime crossing attempts were made in the San Diego sector, an approximate increase of 80%, according to CBP. There were 356 during all of 2021.
CBP says smugglers favor the better weather conditions of summer and will try to blend with the boat traffic. In response, CBP will have more Air and Marine agents ready.