SAN DIEGO (AP) – Two men were charged Friday with immigrant smuggling after a boat they allegedly guided crashed with a U.S. vessel near the Mexican border, leaving one passenger dead.
Numerous witnesses identified Jose Pina and Salvador Sanchez as the smuggling vessel's operators, according to a statement of probable cause. Sanchez told investigators that his smuggling fee was knocked down to $6,000 from $10,000 for helping with fuel duties and that Pina was the driver. Neither man had an attorney listed in court records.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection said 20 people were aboard the 26-foot vessel, which was spotted before dawn Thursday near Encinitas, north of San Diego. CBP says agents fired warning shots, the boats collided, and the smuggling boat capsized.
One woman recovered from the water died. The Mexican government identified her as a 33-year-old from Jalisco state.
One person remained serious condition Friday and prospects for survival were unclear, said Remdios Gomez Arnau, the Mexican consul general in San Diego.
The Mexican government has called for an investigation into the incident.