Suspected Migrant Smuggling Operation Stopped, Coast Guard Says

A 20-foot boat floats on the water Jan. 19, 2019 approximately 30 miles east of Sunny Isles, Florida. The Coast Guard Cutter Bernard C. Webber (WPC-1101) crew interdicted the boat with six people, which included four people who did not have current U.S visas attempting to illegally enter the United States. (U.S. Coast Guard photo)
A 20-foot boat floats on the water Jan. 19, 2019 approximately 30 miles east of Sunny Isles, Florida. The Coast Guard Cutter Bernard C. Webber (WPC-1101) crew interdicted the boat with six people, which included four people who did not have current U.S visas attempting to illegally enter the United States. (U.S. Coast Guard photo)

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.

This article is written by Carli Teproff from Miami Herald and was legally licensed via the Tribune Content Agency through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.

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