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Daily Pilot

Deputies find 16 suspected illegal immigrants in Newport Harbor

7:59 PM PDT, October 18, 2012

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Orange County Sheriff's Department Harbor Patrol deputies intercepted a boat entering Newport Harbor Thursday afternoon and found 16 suspected illegal immigrants on board.

Harbor Patrol dispatcher Brian Stanley said deputies saw the boat coming into the harbor near the "8" marker about 4:38 p.m. Five women and 11 men were found on the boat, and deputies called the Border Patrol for assistance.

As of about 6:30 p.m., Stanley said, Border Patrol agents were investigating the situation. Agent Larry Geraldson said from the agency's San Clemente station he didn't have specific details on the incident, but typically agents first interview people suspected of crossing into the country illegally, then conduct further investigation.

Jake Parks, a 15-year-old Newport Beach resident said he noticed a commotion over the harbor as he was coming back from water polo shortly after the incident.

He said he saw a few helicopters hovering over the harbor.

Stanley said the choppers were likely news helicopters — no Sheriff's Department or Border Patrol helicopters were dispatched.

— Jill Cowan

Twitter: @jillcowan