Coast Guard detains smuggler; repatriates 51 Cubans to Cuba

A Customs and Border Protection Air and Marine Operations flight crew spotted a suspicious vessel with twin outboard engines approximately 20 miles west of Anguilla Cay, Bahamas, Dec. 5, 2021. A suspected smuggling venture, one person was transferred to U.S. Border Patrol for further investigation. (Customs and Border Protection Air and Marine Operations photo)

A Customs and Border Protection Air and Marine Operations flight crew spotted a suspicious vessel with twin outboard engines approximately 20 miles west of Anguilla Cay, Bahamas, Dec. 5, 2021. (Customs and Border Protection Air and Marine Operations photo)

MIAMI — Coast Guard Cutter Charles Sexton’s crew repatriated 51 people to Cuba Wednesday following four interdictions due to safety of life at sea concerns.

A Customs and Border Protection Air and Marine Operations flight crew reported to Sector Key West watchstanders at about 9:45 a.m. Sunday of a suspected vessel with twin outboard engines approximately 20 miles west of Anguilla Cay, Bahamas. A suspected smuggling venture, one person was transferred to U.S. Border Patrol for further investigation.

A Coast Guard Air Station Miami HC-144 flight crew reported to Sector Key West watchstanders at about 11 a.m. Monday of a rustic vessel approximately 25 miles off Key Largo.

Coast Guard Cutter Charles David, Jr.’s crew reported to Sector Key West watchstanders at about 1 p.m. Monday of a rustic vessel approximately 20 miles off Key West.

A Customs and Boarder Protection Air and Marine Operations flight crew reported to Sector Key West watchstanders at about 9:45 p.m. Monday of a rustic vessel approximately 52 miles off Key West.

“These cases spotlight the important DHS partnerships and collaborations that occur every day in South Florida and the Caribbean,” said Gerald Burgess, spokesman for AMO Southeast Region. “Working together, our crews get the job done, day in and day out.”

Since Oct. 1, 2021, Coast Guard crews interdicted 339 Cubans compared to:

  • 5,396 Cuban Migrants in Fiscal Year 2016
  • 1,468 Cuban Migrants in Fiscal Year 2017
  • 259 Cuban Migrants in Fiscal Year 2018
  • 313 Cuban Migrants in Fiscal Year 2019
  • 49 Cuban Migrants in Fiscal Year 2020
  • 838 Cuban Migrants in Fiscal Year 2021

Once aboard a Coast Guard cutter, all migrants receive food, water, shelter and basic medical attention. Throughout the interdiction, Coast Guard crew members were equipped with personal protective equipment to minimize potential exposure to any possible case of COVID-19.

Family members in the United States inquiring about possible family members interdicted at sea, please contact your local U.S. representative. Relatives located outside the United States please contact your local U.S. Embassy.

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