Two incidents with U.S. Coast Guard Crews in Sanibel Island landed four men in federal court Monday afternoon. Two are being brought up on human smuggling charges, while two more are charged with resisting arrest.
After receiving a report that 11 Cuban nationals were smuggled onto Sanibel Island, the U.S. coast guard caught up with the suspected human smugglers south of Knapp’s point on Sanibel Island. The 2 men are now in the custody of Customs and Boarder Patrol. Immigration and Customs Enforcement spokeswoman Barbara Gonzalez says the Cuban immigrants took a huge risk.
“These human smugglers, they have no regard for human life. They’re just in it for the money. Family members who would even think or contemplate about paying these people should think twice. Not only are they breaking the law and they could be subject to criminal prosecution, but they’re putting the lives of their loved ones in the hands of people who have a callous disregard for life.”
Coast Guard crews brought 2 more men into custody Saturday, after disabling another smuggling boat headed outbound from San Carlos Bay in Lee County. The vessel let them on an 18-mile chase, and tried repeatedly to ram the coast guard rescue boats. The 375 gallons of fuel found on the boat, led officials to believe it was the fueling vessel for Sunday’s operation.
Four men are in federal custody today after being brought up on charges ranging from human smuggling to resisting arrest after two incidents this past weekend with the U.S. Coast Guard in Sanibel Island.
Eleven Cuban immigrants - including 4 women, 6 men, and one child, were brought to Sanibel Island by human smugglers this weekend. Coast Guard crews caught up with the vessel a mile south of Knapp’s point on Sanibel and brought 2 men into Customs and Boarder patrol custody. Coast Guard spokeswoman Sondra-Kay Kneen says 2 other men, in what she calls a “go fast” boat, were taken into custody Saturday after attempting to flee coast guard crews.
“We came along side just to question, just to maybe do a routine boarding and the “go fast” made an attempt to ram the coast guard boat and then once they tried to ram it, it began to run. We had two 25-foot rescue boats on scene and we chased them. While we were chasing them, they continued to try and ram the coast guard boats.”
Coast guard crews disabled the vessel by firing into one of the engines. Kneen says they believe the men taken into custody Saturday were driving the fueling vessel for Sunday’s smuggling mission.
Tuesday, 12 June 2007 01:00
Smuggling on SanibelWritten by WGCU Newsroom