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Officials stop 7 illegal immigrants

May 21, 2010

Seven men face possible deportation after federal authorities arrested them earlier this week in Newport Harbor on suspicion of being illegal immigrants.

In separate incidents Tuesday, U.S. Border Patrol agents working with the Orange County Sheriff's Department Harbor Patrol detained seven men believed to be in the country illegally.

In the first incident about 9:30 a.m., border patrol agents were riding with harbor patrol deputies when they saw four men quickly exiting a boat in the harbor and trying to leave.

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Officials emphasized that border patrol agents — not local deputies — questioned the men and determined their resident status.

The partnership between the border patrol and local agencies is a part of Operation Stonegarden, where border patrol agents will work with local municipalities through federal grants to locate possible illegal smuggling.

In the second incident, about 2:15 p.m., three men in a boat were stopped in the middle of the harbor and determined to be possibly undocumented as well. Neither incident appeared to involve illegal smuggling, according to the sheriff's officials.

— Joseph Serna

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