MIAMI – The United States Coast Guard says that 20 Cuban migrants were repatriated after law enforcement teams stopped two illegal voyages off the Florida Keys.
The US Coast Guard said that Station Islamorada and US Customs and Border Protection (CBP), Air and Marine Operation teams recently interdicted a 27-foot cabin cruiser Tuesday after a CBP aircraft spotted the boat about 19 miles south of Long Key, Florida.
Two of the migrants were transferred ashore to US Homeland Security Investigation agents, and 11 were transferred to Coast Guard Cutter Charles David, Jr. and repatriated to Cabanas, Cuba.
In the other illegal voyage, a Coast Guard Cutter Resolute law enforcement team interdicted a 27-foot row boat on Wednesday about 43 miles off Marathon, Florida.
Nine of the migrants were also 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, Sector Key West, Florida.
“With the consistent danger these smuggling ventures present, our crews and partner agencies remain persistently vigilant to protect lives and enforce federal laws,” he added.
The US Coast Guard said it has interdicted approximately 140 Cuban migrants who have attempted to illegally enter the US via the maritime environment in fiscal year 2020, which began October 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, the US Coast Guard said.