Boat carrying European migrants arrived offshore in South Florida. Feds say smuggler busted

·1 min read
U.S. Southern District Court

Aventura police and federal agents stopped a boat earlier this week that they say carried European migrants from the Bahamas to South Florida.

The boat, a 31-foot Contender stopped Monday about two miles offshore Haulover Inlet in north Miami-Dade County, had nine people on board — six from England, two from Ireland and another man whom agents say smuggled the people into the country.

That man, Clifford Allen Meadows remained in federal custody at the Federal Detention Center in Miami on a human smuggling charge Thursday afternoon. Attorney information for the 56-year-old was not immediately available, nor was information about where Meadows lives.

He is scheduled to answer for the charge in front of a federal judge Aug. 30 at 10 a.m.

One of the boat’s passengers was a minor, Homeland Security Investigations agents wrote in a criminal complaint filed Tuesday in U.S. Southern District Court.

The adults told agents they met Meadows in Bimini in the Bahamas, and each paid him $4,000 for a spot on the boat, according to the complaint. None of the passengers had visas “or were otherwise authorized to enter the United States,” the complaint states.

Agents said they found a loaded Glock handgun, as well as a bundle of U.S. cash inside a backpack that was “within arms’ reach” of Meadows.

The Border Patrol said in a statement that there was a total of $32,000 in cash.

A check of the boat’s GPS showed it embarked on several trips between Bimini and South Florida, the complaint states.