MIAMI - It was a busy week for the U.S. Coast Guard Station Miami Beach.
More than 200 migrants were interdicted and repatriated after illegal migration and smuggling attempts from Cuba, Haiti, the Bahamas and the Dominican Republic last week, the Coast Guard said in a news release.
As of Sunday night, the Coast Guard repatriated 88 Cuban migrants, 82 Haitian migrants, 41 Dominicans and two Cubans back to the Dominican Republic.
The Coast Guard said 17 migrants suspected of various crimes were brought to Miami and Puerto Rico.
The largest rescue was when an overloaded 30-foot sail freighter with 82 Haitians on board was discovered south of Great Inagua, Bahamas, the Coast Guard said.
Earlier in the week, two cruise ships rescued 65 Cuban migrants from unseaworthy rustic vessels in separate incidents in the Florida Straits, the Coast Guard said.
"Although there were no reported deaths in any of these cases, all of them could have ended tragically," said Todd Lutes, chief of incident management for the U.S. Coast Guard Station Miami Beach. "Not one of the boats had lifesaving or navigation equipment and nearly all of them were experiencing signs of distress and taking on water."
A Coast Guard helicopter also rescued 12 Cuban migrants stranded on an uninhabited island in the Bahamas. Fifty Dominicans and two Cubans were interdicted in the Mona Passage, an 80-mile stretch between Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic.
The Coast Guard said a U.S. citizen suspected of smuggling nine migrants from the Bahamas to Miami was being questioned.
Copyright 2014 by Local10.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.