Record number of illegal immigrants arrested at sea in 2010
The incident was one of dozens of smuggling attempts by boat in San Diego County in 2010, a record-setting year with 867 arrests in the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30, more than double the previous year’s total of 400 arrests, according to federal authorities.
This fiscal year, which started Oct. 1, is on pace to match or surpass last year’s numbers, officials said.
As of Dec. 15, more than 200 people have been arrested attempting to enter the country illegally by sea, federal authorities said.
Immigration officials say they believe an increase in border security on land has forced smugglers out to sea.
The amount of drugs intercepted at sea also increased, from nearly 9,000 pounds in 2007 to more than 26,000 pounds so far this year.
“As the land borders become increasingly more difficult, the smugglers resort to other means,” said Jerry Conlin, a spokesman with the U.S. Border Patrol in San Diego. “They are still going to smuggle.”