On July 25, Air and Marine Operations Miami Air and Marine Branch Marine Interdiction Agents partnered with United States Coast Southeast crews to rescue 23 people from the sea near Marathon, Florida.
A Marathon-based 41-foot SAFE Boat crew responded to a notification from U.S. Coast Guard Sector Key West of a Cuban rustic vessel located south of Marathon. Once the AMO agents arrived, the agents noted the rustic vessel had begun to take on water and was dangerously close to sinking.
The Marine Interdiction Agents responded quickly providing life jackets to the migrants as the rustic vessel sank resulting in frantic attempts to swim or cling to any debris within reach. The AMO crew swiftly moved to a rescue response recovering migrants from the water by hoisting them up in into the safety of the 41’ SAFE Boat, rescuing 22 people.
Air and Marine Operations rescued 23 Cuban migrants on July 25 after the rustic vessel began to take on water and sink.
A United States Coast Guard Station Marathon crew arrived and rescued an additional migrant from the hazardous waters. The rescuing crews transferred all 23 migrants to Coast Guard partners for further processing.
“Safety of life at sea for migrants attempting to enter the Unites States is a priority for AMO.” said Tony Arevalo, Director of Air and Marine Operations’ Miami Air and Marine Branch. “Our crews provide humanitarian aid to people who have been traveling for days on unforgiving seas in unsafe vessels. They are often in need of medical attention, flotation devices, food, & water.”
Miami Air and Marine Branch is part of AMO’s Southeast Region. The Southeast Region (SER) traces the coasts of Texas and Florida, extends north over the Atlantic to North Carolina, and reaches the Caribbean Sea where AMO operates from Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. In these vast waters, SER effectively extends the U.S. border in order to face international threat profiles, addressed by multi-jurisdictional agreements, strategies, and partnerships, to combat those who smuggle drugs, people, weapons, and instruments of terror before they can enter the U.S. More than 500,000 square miles of interior terrain (extending west to Arkansas) is under SER oversight. SER conducts operations across the entirety of Air and Marine mission sets.
AMO safeguards our nation by anticipating and confronting security threats through our aviation and maritime law enforcement expertise, innovative capabilities, and partnerships at the border and beyond. With approximately 1,800 federal agents and mission support personnel, 240 aircraft and 300 marine vessels operating throughout the United States, Puerto Rico, and U.S. Virgin Islands, AMO serves as the nation’s experts in airborne and maritime law enforcement.
In Fiscal Year 2021, AMO enforcement actions resulted in 1,119 arrests and 122,035 apprehensions of undocumented individuals as well as the seizure or disruption of 324,772 pounds of cocaine, 779,725 pounds of marijuana, 18,548 pounds of methamphetamine, 900 weapons and $73.3 million.