MIAMI – U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Office of Air and Marine (OAM) Marine Interdiction Agents (MIAs) apprehended 37 migrants and a suspected smuggler near Fort Lauderdale on Feb. 23.
An OAM aircrew detected a suspect vessel running without navigational lights and directed marine agents assigned to the marine unit in Fort Lauderdale to intercept. MIAs fired warning shots, at which time the fleeing vessel stopped on its own accord. MIAs boarded the vessel and took custody of the migrants. There were no reports of any injuries.
“This coordinated use of OAM’s air and marine assets is a shining example of our ability to detect and interdict vessels at sea,” said Tony Arevalo, director of marine operations for CBP’s Miami Air and Marine Branch. “We’ll continue to aggressively patrol to prevent illegal maritime activity.”
The MIAs turned over the subjects to the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Bernard C. Webber for further processing. MIAs seized the vessel and the case is being investigated by agents with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Homeland Security Investigations.
Community involvement is extremely important to U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s mission. CBP asks you to report smuggling or any other suspicious activities through 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.