Authorities said they have detained over a dozen migrants who came ashore along the Intracoastal Waterway in Pompano Beach as part of a smuggling operation.
Broward Sheriff’s Office deputies and U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers responded to the scene along Southeast 28th Avenue and Atlantic Boulevard at around 8:45 a.m., Thursday.
Cellphone video captured by witness Gregory Krupa showed a chase on the water, as the migrants’ boat tried to outrun authorities.
“Holy [expletive]. That’s crazy right there,” Krupa is heard saying in the video. “Man, they got the patrol boats out here.”
Moments later, the migrants’ vessel is seen crashing into the seawall.
“I’ve got to zoom in on this. Oh, my God, he crashed the boat,” Krupa said in the video.
The video also showed the passengers jumping into the water, as others ran after getting past the seawall.
“They’re all running. He ran the boat into the – look at all these cops,” said Krupa.
“We walked over, and we saw every police boat imaginable: Customs, Lighthouse Point, Pompano, Sheriff’s,” said witness Jack Keyser.
7SkyForce later hovered above the migrants’ vessel where it crashed on the east side of the Intracoastal.
7News cameras captured video of two detained women sitting on the ground talking to a deputy.
“They had two people sitting on the ground over there. I’m not sure if they were two of them, but that’s all we saw,” said Keyser.
According to CBP officials, a total of 16 migrants were detained.
Cameras showed BSO deputies as they searched for anyone who may have gotten away. They found a man wearing a red polo shirt.
The migrant said he is from Jamaica, and the group left Bimini early Thursday morning.
“We don’t want to leave. We want a better life. No life is in Jamaica right now,” he said. “Nothing is going on in Jamaica. There’s been killings going on in Jamaica. I want a better life.”
In addition to Jamaica, officials said the group included migrants from the Bahamas, Venezuela, Romania and the United Kingdom.
When asked about his family in the U.S., the migrant who spoke with 7News said, “It’s been a long while.”
7SkyForce hovered over the scene where a woman could be seen sitting in a boat and talking to an officer.
Members with the Department of Homeland Security were also on the scene.
CBP took custody of the migrants and transported them to a processing facility. Officials said they will be sent back to their home countries.
CBP officials also seized the migrants’ boat.
The migrants also likely paid a fee to the smugglers that they have now lost as well.
The case remains under investigation.