COAST GUARD INTERDICTS 72 MIGRANTS, 2 SMUGGLERS

 MIAMI – The Coast Guard located and interdicted six rustic vessels and a go-fast between Thursday and Sunday throughout the Florida Straits, preventing 72 Cuban migrants from illegally entering the United States.

Today, the Coast Guard Cutter Drummond repatriated 56 of the 72 Cuban migrants to Bahia de Cabanas, Cuba, and 16 other Cuban migrants plus two suspected smugglers were transported to Freeport, Bahamas, by the Coast Guard Cutter Dolphin.

A Coast Guard Auxiliary aircraft supporting law enforcement operations spotted a go-fast near Cay Sal Banks, Bahamas. The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Tornado, along with a Royal Bahamian Defense Force representative aboard the cutter, was diverted and witnessed the migrants landing on Cay Sal Island. With the permission of the RBDF representative, the Tornado crew was allowed to search for the migrants on the island and detained 16 undocumented migrants and two suspected smugglers.

A Coast Guard C-130 “Hercules” aircraft located a rustic vessel Saturday with 11 migrants 60 miles south of Key West, Fla., and the Cutter Reliance intercepted and safely transferred them to the cutter. The crew of the Drummond later that day intercepted a rustic vessel carrying six migrants 67 miles south of Key West.

The Drummond crew intercepted two rustic vessels Friday, one carrying 14 migrants 60 miles southwest of Key West and another carrying 16 migrants 80 miles southwest of Key West.

A Good Samaritan located five migrants Thursday 15 miles south of Marathon, Fla., and a crew from Coast Guard Station Marathon intercepted. A U.S. Customs and Border Protection Dash-8 aircraft crew located four migrants on a rustic vessel 13 miles north of Havana, Cuba, Thursday and notified the Coast Guard. The Coast Guard Cutter Confidence was diverted and safely transferred all the migrants.

Once onboard Coast Guard cutters, all migrants receive food, water and any necessary medical attention.

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