Coast Guard interdicts 33 Haitian migrants 35 miles northeast of Tortuga

A migrant vessel is shown in the Caribbean after an interdiction, April 2019. The Coast Guard Cutter Spencer (WMEC-905) crew transferred 33 Haitian nationals back to their home of origin, April 12, 2019 after interdicting their 25-foot motor vessel April 10, 2019. (Coast Guard Photo)

A migrant vessel is shown in the Caribbean after an interdiction,  (Coast Guard Photo)

MIAMI — The Coast Guard interdicted 33 migrants Monday approximately 35 miles northeast of Tortuga, Haiti attempting to illegally enter the United States.

At approximately 7:30 a.m., the Coast Guard Cutter Spencer (WMEC-905) crew detected an overloaded 25-foot motor vessel and launched an Over the Horizon smallboat crew. While enroute, the smallboat crew recovered six softball-sized packages of marijuana floating approximately 100 yards from the vessel. The smallboat crew then boarded the vessel and discovered 27 adult Haitian males, six adult Haitian females, three additional packages of marijuana and a package that tested positive for amphetamines.

The Spencer crew safely embarked the 33 migrants, transferred the interdicted drugs aboard the cutter and destroyed the vessel as a hazard to navigation.

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

The Spencer crew transferred the 33 Haitian nationals back to their home of origin Friday for possible prosecution.

“The Coast Guard diligently patrols the Florida Straits and Caribbean Sea to ensure the safety of life at sea and the security of the United States,” said Lt. Cmdr. James Hodges, District 7 response officer. “Neither illegal migration nor drug smuggling will be tolerated, and the Coast Guard will continue to enforce federal laws while maintaining a strong presence out on the water.”

The Coast Guard Cutter Spencer is a 270-foot medium endurance cutter homeported in Boston, Massachusetts.

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