Coast Guard repatriates 24 Cubans to Cuba; detains smuggler

While on a routine patrol a Customs and Border Protection Air and Marine Operations airplane crew identified this suspicious vessel Aug. 21, 2021. Coast Guard Cutter Charles David Jr.'s crew repatriated 24 Cubans to Cuba after interdicting 27 Cubans off Elbow Cay, Bahamas. (U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Air and Marine Operations photo)

While on a routine patrol a Customs and Border Protection Air and Marine Operations airplane crew identified this suspicious vessel Aug. 21, 2021. (U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Air and Marine Operations photo)

MIAMI — Coast Guard Cutter Charles David Jr.’s crew repatriated 24 Cubans to Cuba, Wednesday, after interdicting a suspicious vessel off the coast of Elbow Cay, Bahamas.

While on a routine patrol, a Customs and Border Protection Air and Marine Operations airplane crew saw the vessel Saturday and alerted the cutter. The cutter’s law enforcement team brought the people to the cutter. The owner of the vessel was transferred to Homeland Security Investigations for a follow-up investigation into suspected human smuggling.

“The Coast Guard and our partner agencies are aggressively maintaining a presence in the Florida Straits and discourage these dangerous and deadly voyages,” said Chief Warrant Officer Chad Barber, commanding officer, Coast Guard Cutter Charles David Jr. “U.S. policy is to carry out orderly, safe, and legal migration which we support through deterrence of unlawful maritime migration.”‎

Since Oct, 1, 2020, Coast Guard crews have interdicted 697 Cubans compared to:

  • 5,396 Cuban Migrants in Fiscal Year 2016
  • 1,468 Cuban Migrants in Fiscal Year 2017
  • 259 Cuban Migrants in Fiscal Year 2018
  • 313 Cuban Migrants in Fiscal Year 2019
  • 49 Cuban Migrants in Fiscal Year 2020

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

Throughout the interdiction, Coast Guard crew members were equipped with personal protective equipment to minimize potential exposure to any possible case of COVID-19.

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