San Diego Smuggling Boat

Cade Clark, MVCurrent Writer

A 40-foot cruiser boat crashed into a reef off of the coast of San Diego on the morning of May 2nd. The cruiser boat was torn apart by the rough waves after hitting the rocks. 

The captain was identified as 39-year-old Antonio Hurtado. The 30 passengers on the ship were not legal citizens of the United States. Sadly, three of the passengers lost their lives in the crash. However, Hurtado has been charged for both bringing undocumented immigrants into the country and assaulting a federal officer. He allegedly kneed an agent in the head while being cuffed. 

The cabin cruiser was very overcrowded, and after the crash, authorities say the survivors were struggling against a strong current and 60-degree waters. It has been reported that passengers paid anywhere between $15,000 and $18,000 to be smuggled into the country. 

“The ocean is inherently unsafe,” Agent Jeff Stephenson, a Border Patrol agent said at a news conference in San Diego. “The reality is, crossing the border illegally is unsafe no matter the method, especially at sea, with water temperatures being what they are, and, as the lifeguards described, high surf. It’s a very dangerous scenario.”

Since 2009 authorities in Southern California have caught over 6,000 people trying to enter the country by sea.

As of now Hurtado has been complying with investigators.