CBP, Law Enforcement Assist 42 Haitian Migrants after Landing in Key Biscayne.
MIAMI – U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) operational components, Air and Marine Operations (AMO), the U.S. Border Patrol, along with other law enforcement partners, responded to a maritime smuggling event on Tuesday afternoon near Key Biscayne where 42 Haitian nationals were found. A Good Samaritan call alerted agencies to a vessel that ran aground, and migrants attempting to make their way to shore.
“These maritime smuggling efforts are extremely dangerous. Often, smugglers do not have life jackets, their passengers cannot swim, their vessels are not seaworthy. said Rony Chinchilla, CBP Marine Unit Supervisory Marine Interdiction Agent. “Without these strong partnerships, curbing the flow of maritime smuggling and saving lives would be nearly impossible.”
When AMO agents reached the grounded vessel, 23 women and children were found below deck thirsty, tired and some overcome by the heat. All were safely transferred over to an AMO vessel. A mother and son were transferred over to responding Emergency Medical Services at nearby Marina for care and treatment.
Collaboration from the U.S. Coast Guard, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, and local Florida law enforcement partners proved key to a safe outcome.
All the migrants were taken into Border Patrol custody where they will be interviewed and processed for removal proceedings. An investigation regarding the incident is ongoing.
AMO safeguards our Nation by anticipating and confronting security threats through our aviation and maritime law enforcement expertise, innovative capabilities, and partnerships at the border and beyond. With approximately 1,800 federal agents and mission support personnel, 240 aircraft and 300 marine vessels operating throughout the United States, Puerto Rico, and U.S. Virgin Islands, AMO serves as the nation’s experts in airborne and maritime law enforcement.