Drug Smugglers Head to Sea on .... Surfboards?

By Drew Nelles,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 18, 2009 8:12 AM CDT
Members of US Coast Guard law enforcement detachment 404 survey the deck of a self-propelled, semi-submersible craft seized for carrying almost 7 tons of cocaine off the Guatemalan coast.    (AP Photo/US Navy - Nico Figueroa)
camera-icon View 3 more images

(Newser) – Improved security along the US-Mexico border has pushed enterprising smugglers to the sea in any manner of craft, the New York Times reports. Authorities have been catching twice as many illegal immigrants as usual—and seized 7 times the typical quantity of drugs—in recent months from boats and beaches, where smugglers sprint past startled sunbathers. One enterprising man was intercepted on a surfboard with a duffle bag full of pot.

The offshore upticks coincide with a newly fortified stretch of border fencing near the ocean.
“It’s like spillover from a dam,” says the commander of the Coast Guard's antismuggling effort in San Diego. US officials have requested more equipment, but that may not be enough. “It’s always a fight between technology and the ingenuity of smugglers,” an expert says.