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Border Patrol agents apprehend Cubans, seize hundreds of pounds of cocaine off Florida coast

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(The Center Square) – Border Patrol agents in the Miami Sector continue to apprehend Cubans attempting to enter the U.S. illegally and are also seizing hundreds of pounds of cocaine off the Florida coast.

U.S. Border Patrol agents & Monroe County Sheriff’s Office deputies responded to a migrant landing in the Florida Keys Thursday and encountered seven Cubans who’d arrived on a homemade vessel near Marathon.

Over the same week, Miami Sector agents also seized 87 pounds of hashish and 62 pounds of cocaine that was found by recreational boaters in the Florida Keys. The drugs had an estimated street value of about $1.4 million.

On July 4, Border Patrol agents responded to a migrant landing in the Florida Keys and encountered 32 Cubans. They were medically screened, taken into federal custody and processed for removal, Miami Sector Chief Border Patrol Agent Walter Slosar said in a recent update.

Two days prior, agents and law enforcement partners responded to a migrant landing and took three Cubans into custody after they made landfall on a rustic vessel at Truman Waterfront Park in Key West.

Agents, working with Monroe County Sheriff’s Office deputies, also stopped an alleged drug trafficking incident last month. On June 13, Slosar said they inspected a sailboat and discovered 167 pounds of cocaine in it worth roughly $2.6 million. One suspect, a Lithuanian national, was arrested. An investigation is ongoing.

Just a few days prior, Miami Sector Border Patrol agents took into custody a Chilean national after he was released from jail and processed him for removal. In March, he’d been arrested by the Polk County Sheriff’s Office and charged with 29 counts related to multiple burglaries, grand theft and fraud.

Just a few days prior to that, Border Patrol agents arrested a Guatemalan national who served 239 days in jail on local charges for looting a residence in the wake of Hurricane Ian. He was processed for removal.

Earlier in that same week, agents also arrested a Bahamian national who recently served a federal prison sentence for unlawful possession of a firearm and processed him for removal.

They also responded to a migrant landing in Pompano Beach and encountered 19 foreign nationals. One was a previously deported Dominican national with prior convictions in New York for grand larceny, robbery and aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.

The U.S. Coast Guard also continues to repatriate Haitians who attempt to illegally enter the U.S. through Florida.

On July 6, Coast Guard crews repatriated 94 Haitians and transferred 21 people to the Bahamas after three separate migrant vessel interdictions in one week. From June 23 to July 3, they’d repatriated 55 people.

The Coast Guard, working with Homeland Security Task Force – Southeast partners, are continuing to detect and deter foreign nationals from illegally entering the U.S. by sea.

“We’re in midst of hurricane season when sea and weather conditions can change drastically and without notice,” Lt. j.g. Nicholas Fujimoto, District Seven response law enforcement officer, said in a statement. “These factors make these already dangerous voyages deadly. Migrants interdicted at sea or who land on U.S. shores will be returned to their country of origin or departure, and are not permitted to remain in the U.S. if they arrive unlawfully.”

As of July 6, and since Oct. 1, 2022, crews have interdicted or encountered 4,717 Haitians, according to the most recent Coast Guard data.

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