At 2:00 a.m. on Thursday, June 11, a small boat was seen close to shore near 1600 Seacoast Drive in Imperial Beach. According to radio transmissions over county sheriffs’ radio, the reporting party also stated that there were a number of people transferring duffel bags from the boat into a waiting pickup truck.
Deputies from the Imperial Beach sheriffs’ substation arrived on the scene and found three people in plain view and one hidden behind a rock. All four people were detained. Border Patrol agents were called and several units arrived. At 2:20 a.m., units from the Otay Detention Center and Bonita were called to assist in the search for more people.
Deputies stated that they found six duffel bags full of marijuana. Three of the suspects were swimmers and one was the driver of the waiting pickup.
The sheriffs’ helicopter arrived to the area and asked the sergeant what they had working. The sergeant replied, “We have about 200-plus pounds of marijuana from a boat run and need your assistance for locating any more suspects.” The helicopter pilot was instructed to search the coast from Seacoast Drive to the Imperial Beach Pier and from the Tijuana Estuary to the border fence. Border Patrol also had a patrol boat to assist in the search.
The helicopter wasn’t able to locate any more suspects. Due to the high tide, the deputies were unsure if they found all of the marijuana. The four men were taken to the Imperial Beach substation for further questioning. The pickup truck was impounded.
It’s not known if any of the suspects arrested were illegal aliens, but the sheriff’s sergeant said, “We can’t release any of these suspects to the Border Patrol anytime soon due to the amount of narcotics.”