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CBP Air and Marine Operations Key Largo Marine Unit Rescues Toddlers and Thwarts Maritime Smuggling Attempt

Release Date: 
December 17, 2015

MIAMI - U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Air and Marine Operations (AMO) personnel from the Key Largo Marine Unit interdicted an overload vessel with 12 migrants, including two toddlers, off the coast on Wednesday.

CBP Air and Marine Operations marine units are prepared to rescue migrants at sea.

CBP Air and Marine Operations marine units are prepared to rescue migrants at sea.

The U.S. Coast Guard detected the unseaworthy vessel and coordinated with CBP marine interdiction agents out of Key Largo to intercept with added concern for the well-being of the toddlers onboard.

The marine interdiction agents swiftly put a plan into action to address the safety concerns of the toddlers and to take direct action after the migrants on the motorized vessel failed to yield. The marine agents brought a U.S. Coast Guard rescue swimmer aboard as a precautionary measure.

CBP marine interdiction agents successfully boarded the vessel and took custody of the migrants after a brief pursuit.

The CBP agents safely transferred the migrants to a U.S. Coast Guard cutter and proceeded to destroy the migrant vessel as a hazard to navigation.

“A well-coordinated effort between the U.S. Coast Guard and our highly-trained agents led us to safely interdict these migrants,” said Tony Arevalo, director of marine operations for CBP’s Miami Air and Marine Branch. “We’re dedicated to serving and protecting the American people with vigilant agents aggressively patrolling Florida’s coastline.”

CBP Air and Marine Operations maintains an active and fully engaged cadre of coastal patrol vessels and aircraft aggressively patrolling along Florida’s coast to detect, apprehend and deter smugglers of humans, drugs and other contraband.

Community involvement is extremely important to U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s mission.  CBP asks you to report maritime smuggling and other suspicious activities through 1-800-BE-ALERT or the after-hours toll-free number, 1-800-562-5943.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection in Florida includes travel and trade facilitation and securing over 1,200 miles of the coastal border. Find out more and get real-time updates at @CBPFlorida on Twitter.

Last modified: 
February 9, 2017