Coast Guard detains 6 people for attempted human smuggling

U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Bernard Webber file photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Patrick Kelley.

U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Bernard Webber file photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Patrick Kelley.

MIAMI — The Coast Guard completed a transfer of six people involved in a suspected smuggling case Wednesday to U.S. Border Patrol agents in Fort Lauderdale for further investigation and possible prosecution.

The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Bernard C. Webber, home ported in Miami, conducted a safety boarding Tuesday of a 36-foot cabin cruiser approximately 11 miles east of Fort Lauderdale. During initial questioning, the vessel operator reported they had two people aboard but the boarding team discovered four additional people during the course of the boarding. The cutter Bernard C. Webber embarked all six people for processing.

The passengers included one person who claimed to be a U.S. citizen, three Jamaicans, one Jordanian, and one Israeli.

Approximately 45 miles separate the South Florida and Bahamanian coasts. The area in between is constantly patrolled by the Coast Guard, and Customs and Border Protection partners to detect, deter and stop illegal smuggling ventures.

“These smuggling operations and illicit networks care nothing about the people who put their lives and money in their hands,” said Capt. Aldante Vinciguerra, Coast Guard Seventh District chief of response. “They callously risk both their passengers’ and the public’s lives. We will continue to work with all of our partners to foil their efforts and save lives.”

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