Coast Guard stops Cuban migrants in boats off Florida Keys

20 repatriated to Cabanas

The Coast Guard Cutter Resolute's law enforcement team stop migrants off the coast of Marathon, Florida Aug. 19, 2020. (US COAST GUARD PHOTO) (US COAST GUARD , WPLG)

MIAMI, Fla. – A 27-foot cabin cruiser and a 27-foot row boat were stopped off the Florida Keys by the Coast Guard with Cuban migrants aboard.

The cruiser was spotted about 19 miles south of Long Key on Tuesday, while the row boat was intercepted about 43 miles off Marathon on Wednesday.

Two of the migrants from the cruiser were transferred ashore to Homeland Security Investigation agents and 20 migrants total from both vessels were transferred to Coast Guard Cutter Charles David, Jr. and were 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. “With the consistent danger these smuggling ventures present, our crews and partner agencies remain persistently vigilant to protect lives and enforce federal laws.”

This is a photo of the boat the migrants traveled on from Cuba to the United States, when Coast Guard law enforcement crews interdicted it off the coast of Marathon, Florida, Aug.19, 2020. (US COAST GUARD PHOTO) (WPLG)

The Coast Guard has stopped approximately 140 Cuban migrants who have attempted to illegally enter the U.S via water in 2020. That fiscal year began Oct. 1, 2019, compared to 482 Cuban migrants in fiscal year 2019. The Coast Guard said the numbers represent the total number of at-sea, landings and disruptions in the Florida Straits, the Caribbean and Atlantic Ocean.

Once aboard a Coast Guard cutter, migrants receive food, water, shelter and basic medical attention. Throughout the process, Coast Guard crew members are equipped with personal protective equipment to minimize potential exposure to COVID-19.