MIAMI- U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Office of Air and Marine (OAM) personnel apprehended 10 migrants in the waters off Miami after deploying warning shots and disabling fire to successfully interdict a vessel on Feb. 24.
An OAM aircrew aboard a CBP DHC-8 patrol aircraft from the Miami Air and Marine Branch detected and tracked a suspicious vessel traveling westbound from the Bahamas without navigational lights. The CBP DHC-8 aircraft maintained aerial surveillance and directed marine interdiction agents aboard two CBP Midnight Express Interceptor vessels to intercept approximately six miles east of Miami Beach.
The marine interdiction agents fired warning rounds after the suspect vessel failed to yield and departed at a high rate of speed. The OAM agents then deployed disabling rounds to the engine of the vessel before boarding and taking custody of the migrants. There were no reports of any injuries.
"In the air and at sea, OAM crews remain vigilant in securing our borders,” said William Gibbon, director of of CBP’s Miami Air and Marine Branch. “Training, skill and commitment of our agents allowed us to safely interdict these migrants attempting to enter the country illegally. Day and night we stand guard against illicit trafficking of people and contraband bound for the United States.”
Marine interdiction agents transferred the migrants to the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Richard Etheridge and the case is being investigated by agents with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Homeland Security Investigations.
If you have information about maritime smuggling or suspicious activity call 1-800-BE-ALERT (1-800-232-5378) or the after-hours toll-free number, 1-800-562-5943.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection is the unified border agency within the Department of Homeland Security charged with the management, control and protection of our nation's borders at and between the official ports of entry. CBP is charged with keeping terrorists and terrorist weapons out of the country while enforcing hundreds of U.S. laws.