Border Patrol officials: More smugglers using jet skis to get into US

16 arrests in last 3 weeks

SAN DIEGO - U.S. Border Patrol officials say more smugglers from south of the border are taking to the Pacific Ocean and using jet skis to sneak people into the U.S.

Border Patrol officials say agents have recently stopped six jet ski-related incidents along the San Diego County coast.

Since August 27, 16 people have been arrested between Imperial Beach and the Silver Strand, and a Border Patrol spokesman said all of them were Mexican nationals and none were caught with drugs or weapons.  

The spokesman said there have been more than 550 apprehensions off San Diego's coast in the past year.

Officials say jet skis are useful because the small vehicles can't be tracked by radar and can travel upwards of 50 mph for more than four hours.

"They might use that more often at certain times, but it's nothing new," said Border Patrol spokesman Agent Jerry Conlin.

Besides being illegal, the jet skis are dangerous for the people being smuggled.

"They're not brought up to the beach; they're actually dropped off in the water and made to swim to shore," said Conlin.

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