Twelve Mexican nationals were rescued after being left stranded on a boat headed to Long Beach, Customs and Border Protection officials announced Tuesday.
The 24-foot Skipjack vessel left Rosarito in Baja California, Mexico, Friday.
Border Patrol agents said that they determined one individual was the captain and 11 were allegedly being smuggled into the United States.
The boat’s navigator radioed an accomplice for assistance and, when it arrived, he left the dozen others that he would send assistance, but never did, the release added.
The operator of a privately-owned boat came upon the scene at about 11 a.m. Monday and began towing it to towards Oceanside Harbor when officers intercepted them and summoned Border Patrol agents.
The four female and eight male Mexican nationals were turned over to the U.S. Border Patrol for processing, according to the release. The vessel was seized by the U.S. Border Patrol.
Officials ask anyone with information on maritime smuggling or suspicious activity along the coast of Southern California, to contact the Sector San Diego U.S. Coast Guard Joint Harbor Operations Center at (800) 854-9834.