Friday, May 30, 2008

Memorial Day weekend in downtown Miami includes boat raid, 30 smuggled illegals

Sharp-eyed Customs and Border Protection marine agents spotted a cruising vessel, “High On the Hog” on Memorial Day weekend in Miami. They stopped and searched the 42-foot Sea Ray when one of the two crew members jumped in the river and swam away.

Agents looked below deck, and saw 30 people crammed in, would-be illegal immigrants. All but two were Jamaican, and 17 had previously been deported from the United States for having criminal records. Two others were from the Dominican Republic.

The second crewman was arrested on suspicion of migrant smuggling, and the passengers were held for questioning and deportation by Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

The interdiction came in the midst of a far-ranging U.S. crackdown in South Florida on the smuggling of illegal aliens from the Caribbean.

The brazen attempt to smuggle people down the river in broad daylight is not unprecedented. Smugglers sometimes use the cover of busy boating holidays to attempt entry, thinking federal officers are not working.

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