MIAMI—U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Air and Marine Operations (AMO) DHC-8 aircraft detected an overloaded vessel traveling west from the Bahamas towards Haulover Inlet, on August 21st.
Marine Interdiction Agents (MIA) from the Miami Marine Unit were contacted to assist with an apparent migrant smuggling event in the vicinity of Baker’s Haulover. The CBP DHC-8 aircrew requested an interdiction of a 30’ 1996 Scarab, twin engine vessel, which was observed carrying several people onboard and was heading towards Baker’s Haulover. The suspect vessel anchored just inside the Haulover Inlet sandbar, where the passengers disembarked and attempted to blend in with a crowd of recreational boaters.
Once a partner agency unit approached the vessel, several people jumped into the water and scattered around the sandbar. MIA’s onboard a CBP interceptor arrived on scene and assisted state, local and federal law enforcement personnel with the safe apprehension of the suspected smugglers and eight illegal migrants who had been smuggled in from The Bahamas. The suspected smuggler is a U.S. citizen and the eight illegal migrants are from the Dominican Republic. The vessel will be inventoried and seized by the CBP Miami Marine Unit.
“This coordinated use of AMO’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.”
Safety of life at sea is a top priority. AMO maintains an active and fully engaged cadre of coastal patrol vessels and aircraft aggressively patrolling the Florida coastline to detect and deter illegal and unsafe maritime migration.
“Training, skill and commitment of our agents allows us to safely interdict these migrants attempting to enter the country illegally,” said William Gibbon, Director of the Miami Air and Marine Branch. “Together with other law enforcement teams we work constantly to keep our nation’s borders secure”.
The mission of Air and Marine Operations is to serve and protect the American people. AMO applies advanced aeronautical and maritime capabilities and employs a unique skill set to preserve America’s security interest.