Coast Guard Interdicts 124 Haitian Migrants

MIAMI – The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Escanaba repatriated 124 Haitian migrants to Cap Haitien, Haiti, Thursday.

The Escanaba crew located a 25-foot sailing vessel Tuesday about 30 miles northwest of Great Inagua, Bahama carrying 102 men, 21 women, two of whom were pregnant, and one female child. The migrants said they leftSt. Louis-Du-Nord, in northwest Haiti, three days earlier heading for anywhere other than Haiti. No medical concerns were reported.

In other alien migrant interdiction operations the crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Drummond transferred seven Cuban migrants and one suspected smuggler to the Royal Bahamian Defense Force in Nassau, Bahama, Thursday, who were stopped in Bahamian waters Monday.

The migrants and their suspected smuggler were detected by an HH-65 helicopter crew from Coast Guard Air Station Miami around Cay Sal Bank, Bahama, Monday during a routine flight. Permission was granted by the Royal Bahamian Defense Forces to allow the Coast Guard Cutter Confidence to pursue the suspect “go-fast” vessel. The vessel was stopped and the seven Cuban migrants and one suspected smuggler were brought aboard the cutter.

Coast Guard units patrolling the Florida Straits have had 18 interdictions or disruptions of migrant smuggling activities since Aug. 30. There were 11 landings of Cuban migrants in the Southeastern United States during the same period.

During these interdictions and disruptions, 13 “go-fast” boats were seized, 33 suspected smugglers were detained by Coast Guard law enforcement officers and 195 Cuban migrants were transferred to the decks of Coast Guard cutters. The 11 landings involved a total of 231 Cuban migrants.

“In the span of a week the Coast Guard, assisted by its partners in border security, successfully detected and disrupted 18 attempts to illegally smuggle migrants into the United States,” said Lt. Cmdr. Chris O’Neil, public affairs officer for the Seventh Coast Guard District. “We also seized 13 boats with an estimated average value of $200,000. That statistic clearly demonstrates to anyone that organized crime is behind migrant smuggling and that criminals are profiting by exploiting Cuban migrants and their families. People who encourage the use of migrant smugglers are helping criminals and they cannot possibly be considered patriots, freedom fighters or good citizens.”

Once on aboard Coast Guard cutters, migrants receive food, water and any necessary medical attention.

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