Some type of major law-enforcement action seemed to be taking place on the southbound I-5 through Camp Pendleton on January 29 at around 2:00 p.m.
There were numerous law-enforcement agency vehicles parked at the Las Pulgas Drive off-ramp. Besides two San Diego County sheriff’s deputies, there were also an Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agent and another unidentified officer from some other agency. The Marine Corps police drove by several times in marked units, and an armed solider stood guard just on the other side of the freeway’s fence.
One of deputies said they were just doing a “regular patrol.” I pointed out that I saw five law-enforcement agencies at the interchange, each officer wearing bulletproof vests outside a military-style uniform with the word “POLICE” on the back.
“Regular patrol” for this area would be one uniformed deputy from the Encinitas sub-station going to the San Onofre State Beach campground a few miles up the road. The deputy said he was not from the Encinitas station. (Camp Pendleton is not part of any incorporated city. While the Marines have jurisdiction on federal land and CHP control the freeway, the sheriff’s department is responsible for the small slivers of other areas, like the campground, from the northern Oceanside boundary to the Orange County line.)
Two calls to the sheriff’s spokesperson indicated they had no knowledge of any type of law-enforcement activity in that area; same with the on-base Camp Pendleton police department.
While driving back into Oceanside on southbound I-5, three unmarked pickup trucks with blue lights flashing and officers dressed similar to those at the Las Pulgas off-ramp had pulled over a vehicle just before the Oceanside Harbor/Camp Pendleton exit.
As I exited the freeway I saw another sheriff’s unit, with two similarly dressed deputies, get on the freeway.
The San Diego County Sheriff’s Department generally coordinates multiagency task forces such as fugitive apprehensions, parole searches, or serving of arrest warrants, but usually not on freeways. There was no sign that neither the CHP, nor the Oceanside Police Department were involved in whatever type of operation was going on.