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Two detained in Florida when they were going to travel to Cuba to bring migrants

Two Hispanic men were arrested in the Florida Keys when one of them was preparing to travel to Cuba in search of people interested in entering the US by sea, police sources reported Tuesday.

The Monroe County Sheriff’s Office (far south of Florida) identified the detainees as Víctor Manuel Ríos Castillo, 29, a resident of West Palm Beach, and Jorge Luis Fernández Rodríguez, 53, a resident of Tampa.

The former was charged with attempted human smuggling and the latter with illegally transporting fuel. Both admitted being responsible for the crimes they were charged with.

The Monroe Sheriff’s Office received information Monday that a truck towing a boat was blocking traffic on a road in Marathon Key.

Agents found the truck and trailer at the nearby boat ramp.

The trailer had a flat tire and a damaged tire and on board the boat were three 55-gallon fuel drums (624 liters total), as well as a fuel transfer pump, satellite phone, a GPS with waypoints to Cuba, a large supply of water and soft drinks and numerous life jackets.

Ríos Castillo admitted that he was on his way to Cuba for human smuggling purposes and Fernández Rodríguez admitted that he was aware of the fuel drums on the boat he was towing.

Border Patrol personnel and the Homeland Security Investigations team also responded to the scene.

“Smuggling attempt averted! Excellent work and interagency coordination,” Walter N. Slosar, head of the border patrol in the South Florida Sector, wrote on Twitter.

“Smugglers often overload these boats with migrants and excess fuel, putting anyone on board at serious risk while at sea,” he added as an accompaniment to a photo of the fuel drums aboard the boat.

Since October 2021, when the current fiscal year began, more than 177,000 Cubans have arrived by land in the United States and more than 5,000 by sea in a new wave of migration from the island to the North, which already exceeds that of the “mariel exodus”. ” (1980).

The data from the agency in charge of the customs and borders of the United States (CBP) leave no doubt that the current Cuban exodus is out of the ordinary.

According to agent Slosar, last weekend Border Patrol agents with the support of other government agencies responded to five migrant landings in the Florida Keys, in which 78 Cubans were detained.

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José Martí
José Martí
Nacionalista cubano, poeta, filósofo, ensayista, periodista, traductor, profesor y editor.

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