Border Patrol: 23 migrants arrive at popular Key West beach in ‘homemade’ boat

Federal agents detained a group of 23 Cuban migrants on Wednesday in Key West. (U.S. Customs and Border Protection)

KEY WEST, Fla. – Witnesses called police to report there were more than 20 migrants in a small fishing boat named “Venus.”

They arrived at Smathers Beach, the largest public beach in Key West, on Wednesday morning, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

Chief Patrol Agent Walter N. Slosar, of the U.S. Border Patrol’s Miami sector, described the neatly painted wooden boat as “homemade.”

Slosar also reported federal agents detained 23 of the migrants, who said they were from Cuba. He released a photo showing some of them were seating on the sidewalk along South Roosevelt Boulevard. The group is part of an increase in Cuban migration.

The U.S. Border Patrol released this image of a boat reporting 23 Cuban migrants were in it on Wednesday in Key West. (U.S. Customs and Border Protection)

Border agents have encountered about 115,000 Cuban migrants from October to April in the United States and more than half of them were just in March and April, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

The Del Rio Sector reported 44,000 encounters and the Yuma Sector nearly 40,000. The Miami Field Office and the Miami Sector weren’t as busy. The data shows they encountered about 910 and about 810 of them were single adults.

Slosar has been documenting the dangerous makeshift vessels migrants are using to cross the Florida Straits. He reported they were investigating the Wednesday arrival of the 23 migrants with the help of local authorities.

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About the Author:

The Emmy Award-winning journalist joined the Local 10 News team in 2013. She wrote for the Miami Herald for more than 9 years and won a Green Eyeshade Award.