Miami-Dade County

Suspected migrant smuggling operation stopped near Sunny Isles Beach, Coast Guard says

The crew of the United States Coast Guard Cutter Bernard C. Webber stopped a 20-foot boat near Sunny Isles Beach Jan. 19, 2019 and thwarted what is believed to be a smuggling operation, according to the Coast Guard. Four people were on board who did not have current U.S visas.
The crew of the United States Coast Guard Cutter Bernard C. Webber stopped a 20-foot boat near Sunny Isles Beach Jan. 19, 2019 and thwarted what is believed to be a smuggling operation, according to the Coast Guard. Four people were on board who did not have current U.S visas. U.S. Coast Guard

A suspected migrant smuggling boat was stopped over the weekend near Sunny Isles Beach, according to the U.S. Coast Guard.

On board: Four people without U.S. visas, the Coast Guard said Tuesday.

The 20-foot boat was interdicted by the Coast Guard Cutter Bernard C. Webber crew just before 3 p.m. Saturday about 30 miles east of Sunny Isles Beach.

The six men on board included two U.S. citizens, two Jamaicans, one Dominican and one Bahamian.

Coast Guard members missed their first paycheck earlier this month due to the partial government shutdown, the first time a military branch has not been paid during a shutdown.

“While the Coast Guard continues to deal with the lapse in appropriations and identify methods to alleviate the impacts to our workforce, this illegal activity in the Florida straits that threatens our maritime border security, remains a top priority for our service,” said Rear Adm. Peter J. Brown, commander of the Coast Guard’s 7th District in a news release. “I continue to be humbled and inspired by our dedicated Coast Guard women and men who stand the watch and remain dedicated to serve the public during this time of personal financial uncertainty.”

According to the Coast Guard, one of the migrants on board “had previous convictions for kidnapping, aggravated assault, and narcotics trafficking.”

A second migrant on board has been convicted for the sale of narcotics, the Coast Guard said.

The six people were handed over to Homeland Security Investigations and U.S. Customs and Border Protection for further investigation. No charges were immediately filed.

Carli Teproff grew up in Northeast Miami-Dade and graduated from Florida International University in 2003. She became a full-time reporter for the Miami Herald in 2005 and now covers breaking news.


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