Coast Guard Nabs 10 Smugglers in 24 Hours

MIAMI – Coast Guard and Custom and Border Protection Air and Marine crews working in tandem along Florida’s coastlines have intercepted 10 suspected smugglers from Key West, Fla., to Miami during the last 24 hours and will transfer those individuals to CBP Border Patrol and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement investigators for further questioning.

The Southern District of Florida U.S. Attorney’s Office has indicted 41 smugglers, including 23 announced Tuesday and sentenced two migrant smugglers April 21, each to five years of imprisonment for attempted smuggling of individuals into the United States for purposes of commercial advantage or private financial gain.

Of the 10 suspected smugglers detained throughout the night, one was a parolee in which he had no adjusted status as a legal primary resident. Three suspected smugglers had status as legal permanent residents, one of which was stopped last month for smuggling attempts into the U.S. ICE agents are currently investigating the cases.

In the last month alone, 36 migrants have perished at sea. Less than six months ago, as many as 42 people leaving Cuba on a smuggling boat are presumed dead. Despite our best efforts, no sign of that boat or its passengers have ever been located.

“As a deterrence to these criminal ventures, the Coast Guard will continue to work closely with other U.S. agencies, including the U.S. Attorney’s office, to investigate, identify and prosecute those involved in human smuggling and hold them accountable for their dangerous and criminal actions,” said Capt. William Lee, chief of staff for the Seventh Coast Guard District.

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