Coast Guard interdicts 15 migrants, suspected smuggler east of Boynton Beach

Pictured are 14 Haitian migrants and two suspected smugglers in a 30-foot cabin cruiser approximately 12 miles east of Boynton Beach, Florida, Wednesday, July 3, 2019. (Coast Guard Photo)

Pictured are 14 Haitian migrants and two suspected smugglers in a 30-foot cabin cruiser approximately 12 miles east of Boynton Beach, Florida, Wednesday, July 3, 2019. (Coast Guard Photo)

MIAMI — The Coast Guard interdicted 14 Haitian migrants a Dominican migrant and a suspected smuggler Wednesday 12 miles east of Boynton Beach.

Coast Guard 7th District watchstanders received a report from the Palm Beach Sheriff’s Office of a Customs and Border Protection Air and Marine Operations aircraft detecting an unlit 30-foot cabin cruiser heading towards West Palm Beach.

Watchstanders launched a Coast Guard Station Lake Worth Inlet 33-foot Special Purpose Craft—Law Enforcement crew and diverted the Coast Guard Cutter Bernard C. Webber (WPC-1101) crew. The cutter Webber crew safely embarked the six Haitian male adults, three Haitian female adults, one Haitian male minor, four Haitian female minors one Dominican male and one Bahamian male. The cutter Webber crew transferred five Haitian adults and five Haitian minors to Bahamas authorities and social services. The suspected smuggler, Dominican adult and four Haitian adults were transferred into Homeland Security Investigations custody.

“The Coast Guard maintains a focused and coordinated effort with multiple agency assets to interdict any attempt to unlawfully immigrate to the United States by sea,” said Lt. Matthew Pinhey, Coast Guard 7th District surface operations. “Attempting to enter the country this way is not worth the risk and we discourage people from try to embark on these dangerous voyages.”

Approximately 3,027 Haitian migrants have attempted to illegally enter the U.S. via the maritime environment in fiscal year 2019 compared to 2,727 Haitian migrants in fiscal year 2018. Approximately 1,456 Dominican migrants have attempted to illegally enter the U.S. via the maritime environment in fiscal year 2019 compared to 829 Dominican migrants in fiscal year 2018. These numbers represent the total number of at-sea interdictions, landings and disruptions in the Florida Straits, the Caribbean, and Atlantic.

Once aboard a Coast Guard cutter, all migrants receive food, water, shelter, and basic medical attention.


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