SAN DIEGO (Border Report) — The United States Border Patrol is adding more patrols along California’s coastline to stem human and drug smuggling, and as a way to “prevent further introduction of COVID-19 into California communities.”

The Border Patrol says maritime smuggling has become commonplace. Since the beginning of this year, there have been a reported 129 maritime events leading to 485 arrests and the seizure of more than 6,600 pounds of illegal drugs.

Pangas scattered on Southern California beaches have become commonplace as more and more smugglers use the small boats to bring migrants and drugs into the United States. (OnScene.TV)

According to Border Patrol figures, there were 194 recorded smuggling events and 660 arrests in all of last year, along with 19,000 pounds of contraband found.

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“Here in the San Diego Sector, we have long coastline and it’s an area that’s able to get exploited,” Border Patrol Agent Jarrett Decker said.

Decker added that they are deploying additional patrol units including horse patrols.

The Border Patrol is planning on using its Horse Patrol Unit a lot more as a way to increase patrols along the coast. (Courtesy photo)

“We’ve always used horses in United States Border Patrol, they have lower environmental impact, we’re able to get in areas a lot easier without causing damage in those areas,” Decker said.

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Another benefit to the additional patrols is safety for the migrants who are often placed in danger when they are brought into the U.S. on small boats known as pangas.

Two months ago, more than a dozen migrants were forced into the water late at night hundreds of yards from the beach.

“It’s extremely dangerous, lots of these boats are not set up for these type of voyages, they don’t have life vests, boats aren’t seaworthy and it’s extremely dangerous to deal with the Pacific Ocean,” Decker said.

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