A federal agent who knew that a boat had been stolen in South Carolina spotted it in Miami as a pickup truck towed it down Interstate 95, Customs and Border Protection said Tuesday.
The Florida Highway Patrol stopped the orange Ford F250 pickup as it towed the white 28-foot boat at 81st Street and I-95, CBP said.
The boat turned out to be a brand new Regulator, a model primarily used in sport fishing but also favored by drug and migrant smugglers who, federal officials said, like to use go-fast and fishing boats.
These officials also have said that in recent months they have seen an increase in the number of boats intercepted off the South Florida coast carrying undocumented migrants of various nationalities.
South Florida also serves as a platform from which stolen boats, cars and trucks are sent to the Caribbean and Latin America.
The stolen boat was spotted about 5 p.m. April 25 when a Fort Lauderdale-based CBP Office of Air and Marine agent recognized the boat on I-95 as one reported stolen in South Carolina. The agent contacted FHP and asked that the pickup towing it be stopped.
According to CBP, the value of the stolen vehicles — the boat and the truck — is close to $200,000.
The website of the company that manufactures Regulator boats shows that the latest models include an advanced helm station where the skipper can view navigation charts on digital screens.
The truck driver was arrested and charged with possession of stolen property.
The CBP Office of Air and Marine is the world’s largest aviation and maritime law enforcement organization with more than 1,200 federal agents, operating from 84 air and marine locations, with 276 aircraft and 289 maritime vessels.