The Chicago Tribune took a look yesterday at the increasing trend of border crossers who are turning to the ocean.

The Tribune’s story begins:

DEL MAR, Calif. — Surf’s up, but Aaron Dorsey fears what he may find paddling out to sea. A body? An abandoned boat or its wreckage? Or smugglers, possibly armed?

Already, five boats belonging to smugglers of drugs or illegal immigrants have been found beached or wrecked by reefs in the past six months — a sign that smuggling by sea is the latest route to avoid the new border fence and toughened frontier.

While waterborne journeys have been common on the Atlantic with Cuban or Haitian migrants, the Pacific passage is unusual because it’s occurring year-round now, not just confined to the warm months when smugglers’ bigger boats hide in plain sight amid U.S. marine traffic, federal officials say.

My colleague, Will Carless, wrote about the trend in December. From his story:

Though this sort of water-borne migration is not a new phenomenon, immigration experts and security officials said the transporting of contraband humans and drugs through the currents and waves of San Diego’s coastal waters seems to have attracted a new breed of bootleggers willing to take greater risks for ever-swelling payouts.

ROB DAVIS

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