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Multi-Agency Efforts Lead to Rescues in South Florida

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PEMBROKE PINES, Florida - Over the weekend, U.S. Border Patrol agents assigned to the Miami Sector along with support from U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s Air and Marine Operations, U.S. Coast Guard, and local law enforcement partners rescued 38 Cuban noncitizens who were stranded on various islands in the Florida Keys.   

The first incident occurred on June 17, 2022, when five Cuban nationals arrived on a homemade vessel to the uninhabited Boot Key Island, south of Marathon, Florida. Border Patrol agents along with Air and Marine Operations and the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office responded and conducted an extensive search of the island. Border Patrol agents deployed on personal watercraft and after an extensive search the five Cuban nationals were located. The individuals reported that they spent over seven days at sea after their vessel suffered mechanical failures shortly after departing from Cuba. At the scene, a Border Patrol agent certified as an Emergency Medical Technician rendered care to the individuals who suffered from mild dehydration.   

Homemade vessel found in Florida Keys
Homemade vessel found in Florida Keys

On June 18, 2022, a second incident occurred when a Good Samaritan observed 23 individuals stranded on the Marquesas Keys, uninhabited islands approximately 20 miles West of Key West, Florida. The U.S. Coast Guard along with support from Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission located the 23 Cuban nationals, who were turned over to Border Patrol custody.      

On June 19, 2022, a third incident occurred when a group of 10 Cuban nationals arrived on a homemade vessel to the Dry Tortugas Islands, which are located approximately 68 miles west of Key West, Florida. The U.S. Coast Guard rescued the individuals, who were later turned over to Border Patrol custody.       

“Our agents and law enforcement partners worked diligently over the weekend to coordinate a multi-agency response to these events and to ensure these migrants were quickly rescued and provided with immediate care," said Walter N. Slosar, Chief Patrol Agent, U.S. Border Patrol, Miami Sector, "As we enter the summer months and hurricane season, this becomes an increasingly dangerous journey across the Florida Straits”. 

All 32 Cuban noncitizens were taken into Border Patrol custody for further processing and will be turned over to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement custody.

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Last Modified: June 21, 2022