Suspected smuggling boat capsizes off Imperial Beach, near Mexican border

Capsized boat
A suspected smuggling boat capsized Monday night off Imperial Beach.
(OnScene TV)

A suspected smuggling boat capsized off the coast of Imperial Beach on Monday night, sending four people scrambling toward the beach, one of whom was detained and sent to a hospital for minor injuries, sheriff’s officials said.

The small craft with an outboard motor was reported capsized a little after 8 p.m. north of the Imperial Beach Pier, in the surf off Daisy Avenue near Dunes Park, Deputy Christopher Allen told OnScene TV.

Allen said deputies believed the boat was involved in smuggling, though it wasn’t immediately clear if it was smuggling people, drugs, or both.


Deputies took a man with minor injuries into custody before sending him to a hospital for treatment, Allen said. Three other people fled onto the beach and were not immediately found.

Footage from the scene showed wave-strewn cushions, life vests, water bottles and other debris washing ashore as lifeguards and deputies taped off the scene and collected the items. Deputies in black latex gloves cut open one of the larger cushions, apparently in search of drugs, but appeared to find nothing of value or interest inside.

Allen asked anyone with information about the incident to call the Sheriff’s Department at (858) 565-5200.

Riggins writes for the San Diego Union-Tribune.