Coast Guard interdicts 11 migrants near Boca Raton

Coast Guard 33-foot Special Purpose Craft-Law Enforcement file photo

Coast Guard 33-foot Special Purpose Craft-Law Enforcement file photo

MIAMI — The Coast Guard interdicted 11 migrants and three suspected smugglers Saturday approximately 9 miles east of Boca Raton.

During a routine patrol, a Coast Guard Air Station Miami HC-144 Ocean Sentry airplane crew located a 22-foot cabin cruiser that matched the description of a target of interest with 14 people aboard at approximately 8 p.m. Friday east of Boca Raton. Coast Guard Sector Miami watchstanders launched a Coast Guard Station Lake Worth Inlet 33-foot Special Purpose Craft-Law Enforcement boatcrew to interdict the vessel at approximately 12:30 a.m. Saturday, who then transferred the migrants to the Coast Guard Cutter Moray (WPB-87331).

The cutter Moray crew embarked two Dominican migrants, nine Ecuadorian migrants and three suspected smugglers aboard and transferred them to the Coast Guard Cutter Richard Etheridge (WPC-1102) crew who transported them ashore to U.S. Customs and Border Protection custody.

A CBP boatcrew towed the migrant vessel to Station Lake Worth Inlet for further investigation by the West Palm Beach Maritime Border Enforcement Security Taskforce.

“Migrants should not attempt to smuggle themselves into the country,” said Capt. Jason Ryan, Coast Guard 7th District chief of enforcement. “They not only risk going to jail but also endanger their lives by entrusting smugglers to bring them across the water with little or no lifesaving equipment onboard.”

The West Palm Beach Maritime Border Enforcement Security Taskforce is comprised of federal, state and local agencies whose members include, the U.S. Coast Guard, CBP Air and Marine Operations, U.S. Border Patrol, Homeland Security Investigations and Palm Beach Sheriff’s Office.

The cutter Richard Etheridge is a 154-foot fast response cutter homeported in Miami Beach. The cutter Moray is an 87-foot patrol boat homeported in Cape Canaveral.

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