Over 20 Cuban migrants in custody after smuggling operation busted in Keys, officials say

MONROE COUNTY, Fla. – Authorities with the U.S. Border Patrol and the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office stopped a suspected human smuggling operation involving more than 20 Cuban migrants Thursday morning.

According to MCSO spokesperson Adam Linhardt, deputies stopped a trailered center console vessel at the Marathon public boat ramp for having no tie-downs at approximately 8 a.m. after ew witnesses reported seeing a vessel matching that boat’s description offloading approximately 20 or more people earlier near the north end of the Seven Mile Bridge.

Chief Patrol Agent Walter N. Slosar, who leads the agency’s Miami sector, posted on X that Border Patrol agents arrested 21 Cuban migrants and detained multiple suspected smugglers.

Moments later, MCSO deputies then stopped an orange sedan and white van for speeding near Mile Marker 104 on U.S. 1 in Key Largo, Linhardt said.

Authorities said the passengers inside both vehicles matched the description of those seen exiting the boat near the Seven Mile Bridge.


No other information has been given at this time.

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About the Authors:

Janine Stanwood joined Local 10 News in February 2004 as an assignment editor. She is now a general assignment reporter. Before moving to South Florida from her Washington home, Janine was the senior legislative correspondent for a United States senator on Capitol Hill.

Ryan Mackey is a Digital Journalist at WPLG. He was born in Long Island, New York, and has lived in Sunrise, Florida since 1994.