Boats with Haitian, Chinese and Dominican migrants stopped off South Florida
The flow of Cuban and Haitian boats arriving in the Florida Keys has slowed the past two weeks, but Border Patrol agents were busy Wednesday with migrant activity elsewhere in South Florida, officials say.
Early Wednesday morning, the Border Patrol said a twin-outboard engine cabin cruiser arrived near Haulover Marina in Northeast Miami-Dade, carrying migrants from three different countries — three from China, one from Haiti and two from the Dominican Republic.
Walter Slosar, chief patrol agent in charge of Border Patrol’s Miami operations, said on Twitter that the landing is being investigated as a “maritime smuggling event.”
U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s Air and Marine Operations released a statement that a migrant sailboat was stopped offshore by its agents, Border Patrol and U.S. Coast Guard crews off Lake Worth Beach in central Palm Beach County. There were 23 people from Haiti on the vessel.
“One suspected smuggler was arrested and will be prosecuted,” the agency said in its statement.
Wanted in Honduras
On Sunday, Monroe County sheriff’s deputies arrested an Illinois man on an out-of-county warrant on Big Pine Key in the Lower Florida Keys. It turned out the man, 32-year-old Oscar Gustavo Aroca Lopez from South Roxana, Illinois, is wanted in Honduras on an attempted homicide charge, Slosar said.
Adam Hoffner, division chief for U.S. Border Customs and Border Protection’s Miami operations, said he was transferred to Immigration and Customs Enforcement for a return to Honduras.
South Florida is experiencing a surge in maritime migration, mostly from Cuba and Haiti, that significantly picked up over the Christmas and New Year’s holiday season.
Border Patrol Chief Raul Ortiz said in a statement Wednesday that since Oct. 1, the beginning of the fiscal year, his agents have responded to 246 migrant landings, mostly in the Keys, and “encountered” more than 4,400 migrants.
Arrivals have slowed since the federal government’s increased enforcement measures and an executive order from Gov. Ron DeSantis activating the National Guard and sending more state law enforcement officers to the Keys to help patrol for migrants.