DANIA BEACH, FLA. (WSVN) - Several migrants believed to have been smuggled to Fort Lauderdale and the people who aided them have been arrested.
According to Fort Lauderdale Police, six migrants came in on a boat just before 10 a.m., near the 2300 block of Southwest 17th Street, Tuesday. The U.S. Border Patrol’s Miami Sector received information concerning a possible maritime smuggling event near 17th Street and 23rd Avenue, officials said.
All of the migrants fled from the 32-foot open fisherman boat once police arrived.
Officials arrested five male subjects of various nationalities, U.S. Border Patrol agents said. They said the subjects were possibly suffering from dehydration at the time of the arrests.
One was taken to the hospital.
Chris, a witness, was working at a house nearby and saw the activity. “There were a lot of police boats circling around,” he said. “They were pulling this boat over. The boat got to the shore, and I saw three people run off the boat and got into that parking lot.”
The men, officials said, ran to the Hyatt Regency Pier 66 where they were apprehended.
At least one migrant remains at large.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has taken the lead on this investigation.
Border and Customs Protection remain are assisting Fort Lauderdale Police, and a press conference is expected to be held Tuesday afternoon.
Tourists staying at a Hyatt Regency in the area said they were shocked to see this kind of activity outside their hotel.
“It is sad for other people, out of desperation, wanting to get into America and feeling like they have to be smuggled in,” said visitor Shanna Conerford.
The migrants were taken to the Dania Beach Border Patrol Station for processing. According to ICE, charges are pending.
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