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KEY LARGO (CBSMiami) — At Blackpoint Park and Marina in South Miami-Dade, Border Patrol officers held a small cabin cruiser at the dock, occupied by seven unlawful migrants.

The boat was intercepted just before it reached shore Sunday morning.

smuggled migrants 21 Large Group Of Cuban Migrants Caught In Key Largo

Authorities investigate suspected migrants at Blackpoint Park and Marina on March 12, 2017. (Source: CBS4)

“At this point we believe we interdicted an alien-smuggling event,” said Border Patrol agent Brett Overton.

The South Miami-Dade interdiction unit followed the interception of a go-fast boat carrying 30 Cuban migrants near Key Largo Sunday morning. An alleged smuggler was arrested.

At Blackpoint Park, two accused smugglers were charged but the origin of their human cargo was a mystery.

“They are not being cooperative. They are not speaking,” said Agent Overton. “There’s no identification. They’re not talking, they’re not communicating, so it puts us with limited access to figure out where they are from.”

With the elimination of the ‘Wet-Foot, Dry-Foot’ policy for Cuban migrants, almost all who try to enter illegally now are sent back. Among a group of onlookers at Blackpoint, there was some sympathy.

“I can’t imagine being so desperate to get out of the situation you’re in that you would resort to being smuggled into a country,” said Trina Chinni, a Miami-Dade resident.

But while there was compassion for the migrants, there was also resolution.

“We’ve got to have control over our borders, people coming in the right way. I have no problem with legal immigration,” Chinni said.

With President Trump promising to build a wall and add thousands of new border patrol agents, it’s thought a spike in immigrant-smuggling operations like those Sunday could be an effort to get out in front of the reinforced enforcement.


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