You might have noticed a number of maritime smuggling arrests in recent weeks.

On Friday, I met with Lauren Mack, spokesperson for the local U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement office, to get an update on the situation. Maritime smuggling pales in comparison to smuggling activities by land, but it’s still a growing trend. Mack said there were 230 arrests in the 2008 fiscal year and 430 in fiscal year 2009, which ended June 30.

Mack said the region has seen an increased number of incidents in October and November due to more fog cover. Most of the arrests happened at docks and beaches in the northern half of the county. Mack said the smugglers are landing further north these days, but that pattern could shift with more attention by law enforcement.

Will Carless, my predecessor on the public safety beat, wrote about this shift in illegal immigration tactics back in 2007.


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