Suspected smuggler, 14 migrants intercepted off coast of Miami

Customs boat fires warning shots, disables boat near Government Cut


MIAMI – A suspected smuggler and 14 migrants from various countries were intercepted Tuesday by the U.S. Coast Guard off the coast of Miami, according to a Coast Guard news release.

The Coast Guard said the boat was intercepted about 12 miles southeast of Government Cut.

A U.S. Customs and Border Protection airplane crew spotted the suspicious boat near the Bahamas and alerted the Coast Guard.

When a Coast Guard boat crew tried to stop the boat near Government Cut, it kept going, prompting a U.S. Customs and Border Protection boat to fire warning shots and disable the boat.

The Coast Guard said there were 15 people on the boat. They were transferred to the Coast Guard cutter Paul Clark and taken to shore.

One Ecuadorian migrant, one Jamaican migrant, six Chinese migrants and six Sri Lankan migrants were on board the boat. A Cuban national and permanent U.S. resident was believed to be operating the boat.

The Coast Guard turned over the 15 individuals to Homeland Security Investigations officials Friday in Miami. The suspected boat operator is being investigated for human smuggling.

"These smuggling operations and illicit networks care nothing about the people who put their lives and money in their hands," Coast Guard Capt. Mark Gordon said in a statement. "They callously risk both their passengers' and the public's lives. We will continue to work with all of our partners to foil their efforts and save lives."

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