SAN DIEGO – A third man has been arrested on suspicion of smuggling a boatload of illegal immigrants who were stranded without food or water for three days off the Southern California coast.
Authorities say the suspects are expected to be arraigned Thursday in federal court in San Diego. Fifteen people aboard a rickety 24-foot boat were rescued Wednesday 12 miles offshore. None was seriously injured.
The lead U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement investigator in San Diego says the trip started in a fishing village near Playas (PLY'-as) de Rosarito. Mike Unzueta (unz-WAY'-ta) says they switched boats on Mexico's Coronado Islands. Unzueta says the boat's engine died 20 minutes after leaving the islands.
Three passengers are staying in the U.S. as witnesses. The rest are being sent home to Mexico or El Salvador.