Monroe County sheriff’s deputies working marine patrol and the U.S. Coast Guard stopped a small migrant boat off the Florida Keys Thursday morning.
The small wooden sailboat was first spotted by a boater around 8:30 a.m. south of Big Pine Key in the Lower Keys, near the American Shoal Lighthouse, about six miles out to sea. That person called the U.S. Coast Guard, said Adam Linhardt, spokesman for the sheriff’s office.
A sheriff’s office marine patrol boat caught up to the migrant craft first and waited with it until a Coast Guard crew arrived to pick up the five men who were on the vessel, Linhardt said.
Linhardt could not verify the men’s nationalities, and the Coast Guard was not immediately available for comment.
The interception of the boat comes as South Florida and the Keys are experiencing an influx in maritime migration from both Cuba and Haiti not seen in several years.
This story was originally published May 12, 2022 9:13 PM.