MIAMI — The U.S. Coast Guard repatriated 20 Cuban migrants after law enforcement teams stopped two illegal voyages off the Florida Keys, the Coast Guard 7th District said in an Aug. 22 release.
Coast Guard Station Islamorada and U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Air and Marine Operation teams interdicted a 27-foot cabin cruiser after a CBP aircraft spotted the boat about 19 miles south of Long Key.
Two of the migrants were transferred ashore to Homeland Security Investigation agents and 11 transferred to Coast Guard Cutter Charles David Jr. and were repatriated to Cabanas, Cuba.
In the other illegal voyage, a Coast Guard Cutter Resolute law enforcement team interdicted a 27-foot rowboat on Aug. 19 about 43 miles off Marathon.
Nine of the migrants were transferred to Coast Guard Cutter Charles David Jr. and were repatriated to Cabanas, Cuba.
“Attempting to smuggle yourself into the country via the maritime environment is both extremely dangerous and illegal,” said Lt. Charles Sanderson, chief of enforcement for Sector Key West. “With the consistent danger these smuggling ventures present, our crews and partner agencies remain persistently vigilant to protect lives and enforce federal laws.”
The Coast Guard has interdicted about 140 Cuban migrants who have attempted to illegally enter the U.S via the maritime environment in fiscal year 2020, which began Oct. 1, 2019, compared to 482 Cuban migrants in fiscal year 2019. These numbers represent the total number of at-sea interdictions, landings and disruptions in the Florida Straits, the Caribbean and Atlantic Ocean.
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.