Over the weekend, U.S. Border Patrol agents assigned to the Miami Sector along with support from U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s Air and Marine Operations, U.S. Coast Guard, and local law enforcement partners responded to five maritime smuggling events in southern Florida which resulted in the arrest of 32 Cuban noncitizens.
The first incident occurred on April 29, 2022, when six Cuban nationals arrived on Miami Beach around 10:00 a.m. on a homemade vessel. The individuals reported that they spent nearly two weeks at sea onboard their homemade vessel.
A second incident occurred in Islamorada, Florida, when three Cuban nationals arrived on a small vessel. The individuals reported that they encountered inclement weather and were briefly stranded on an uninhabited island off the coast of Cuba.
The remaining three incidents occurred on April 30, 2022, in the Marquesas Keys; a series of uninhabited islands located 20 miles west of Key West, Florida. U.S. Coast Guard and Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission assisted with the rescue of 21 Cuban noncitizens who made landfall on two homemade vessels around 9:00 a.m.
At the scene, U.S. Coast Guard partners completed a medical assessment. Two of the individuals were transferred by the U.S. Coast Guard to a local hospital in Key West, Florida, where they were subsequently treated and released to U.S. Border Patrol custody.
“Once again, I am extremely proud of the coordinated actions with our local, state, and federal partner agencies that led to the successful rescue of these migrants, specifically those who were stranded on uninhabited islands. As the summer months approach and temperatures rise this becomes an increasingly more dangerous journey. We encourage migrants to avoid risking their lives by taking to the seas or falling prey to unscrupulous smugglers who employ potentially perilous tactics to avoid detection,” said Walter N. Slosar, Chief Patrol Agent, U.S. Border Patrol, Miami Sector.
All 32 Cuban migrants were taken into U.S. Border Patrol custody for further processing and will be turned over to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement custody.