MIAMI BEACH, FLA. (WSVN) - Multiple state and federal law enforcement agencies are searching for a group of migrants suspected of smuggling drugs, who came ashore near Miami Beach.
Cellphone video captured the migrants as they hopped off a Cuddy Cabin vessel and ran off as a helicopter hovered above them, Saturday night.
“All of a sudden, the boat pulls up, and a bunch of people jumped out, about 10 or so people,” said a witness.
Miami-Dade Police units responded to a call about a boat filled with migrants off shore, just after 7:30 p.m.
According to U.S. Customs and Border Patrol, the migrants seen speeding ashore were heading to South Florida and were caught smuggling drugs. Once on land, authorities said, they took off in multiple directions.
“Some of them ran onto that pathway, some ran onto these ropes, and a helicopter was above shining a light and trying to find what was going on,” said the witness.
“I came out when I heard the chopper, and then I saw like 10, 15 people run out,” said a man who also saw the group.
Cellphone video shot in the area of 24th Street and Collins Avenue captured a heavy police presence, as officers blocked off a stretch of the street while agents from Customs and Border Patrol and other agencies conducted a search in the area.
“Police were circling the couple of blocks around here by air, by water and by land, as they had boats, helicopters and groups of cars surrounding the couple of blocks,” said another witness.
The search lasted well into the night.
Meanwhile, 7News cameras captured police officers as they searched the boat.
Those who saw the tense moments play out said they were left stunned.
“I thought it was something that was either a drug bust or something like that,” said a witness, “so I figured it was something along the lines of that, but I really wasn’t sure.”
It remains unclear how many migrants managed to make it onto shore, as authorities continue search efforts.
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