MONROE COUNTY, Fla. – U.S. Border Patrol agents and local law enforcement agencies responded to six separate maritime smuggling events over the weekend in the Florida Keys, CBP Miami Chief Patrol Agent Walter N. Slosar confirmed Monday.
According to Slosar, a total of 58 Cuban migrants were detained.
They are expected to be repatriated to the island.
Slosar says agents have responded to 104 maritime smuggling events in Florida since Oct. 1, 2021, in which the migrants made landfall.
Over the #weekend, U.S. Border Patrol agents & local partners responded to 6 maritime smuggling events in the Florida Keys & apprehended 58 migrants from #Cuba. Since Oct 1, agents have responded to 104 maritime smuggling events that have made landfall in #Florida.— Chief Patrol Agent Walter N. Slosar (@USBPChiefMIP) May 9, 2022
“The criminal organizations that overload these vessels sacrifice the safety of the migrants for the sake of profits,” Slosar said.
Slosar is coming to South Florida from the El Paso sector at a time when federal data documents what we can see along our coastline -- an uptick this fiscal year in suspected human smuggling events.
Many of the recent migrants are from Cuba and Haiti.
“There are certain events that are occurring in their country that have led to people wanting to leave,” Slosar said, adding that smugglers want to take advantage of these people.
“Our number one concern is preservation of human life,” he said.