According to NBC News, A woman died this past Thursday morning following a crash between a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) vessel and a boat carrying 20 people suspected of trying to enter the country illegally, officials said.  CBP officials with the agency’s Office of Air and Marine spotted the panga boat off the coast of Encinitas and believed it was filled with people being smuggled into the United States.

Agents said they ordered the person operating the 26-foot-long boat to stop, but the vessel did not yield, so agents fired warning shots.  The suspected smuggling boat then collided with the CBP boat, causing the panga boat to capsize.  As agents worked to pull all 20 people out of the water, they began trying to resuscitate a woman who was unresponsive.  All 20 people, including the woman, were taken to the hospital; she died there.  Her cause of death wasn’t immediately known.  CBP authorities are investigating the incident. The panga boat is at the bottom of the ocean.  The 19 remaining people on board the panga boat were taken into custody, suspected of trying to enter the country illegally.

Often times, professional smugglers known commonly as “coyotes” lure groups of Immigrants with them and then seek to enter the United States either across land routes through the mountains or desert, or often on small boats which attempt to land in the San Diego area.  This latest accident off the coast of Encinitas is just one of many countless examples of just how dangerous these illegal operations are, where the “coyotes” often quickly will put the lives of the travelers in danger in order to attempt to flee CBP officials.  We strongly advise against even communicating with coyotes or even thinking about trying to come into the United States illegally, and instead contact an Immigration Attorney to work on getting into the United States legally.