The U.S. Coast Guard says it interdicted 14 Haitian migrants, one Dominican migrant and suspected smugglers on Wednesday 12 miles east of Boynton Beach.
The USCG seventh district received a report from the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office of a Customs and Border Protection Air and Marine Operations aircraft detecting an unlit 30-foot cabin cruiser heading toward West Palm Beach, according to a news release.
According to the Coast Guard, a special purpose craft was launched and safely embarked the nine Haitian adults, five Haitian children, one adult Dominican and one adult Bahamian. The five Haitian adults and five minors were transferred to Bahamas officials and social services while the suspected smugglers, the Dominican adult and four Haitian adults, were transferred to Homeland Security Investigations.
"The Coast Guard maintains a focused and coordinated effort with multiple agency assets to interdict any attempt to unlawfully immigrate to the United States by sea," said Lt. Matthew Pinhey, Coast Guard 7th District surface operations. “Attempting to enter the country this way is not worth the risk and we discourage people from trying to embark on these dangerous voyages.”
The Coast Guard says more than 3,000 Haitian migrants and almost 1,500 Dominican migrants have attempted to enter the United States illegally in fiscal year 2019.