SLC Sheriff's Office - Not Yet Clear Where the Migrant Boat Came From
Fort Pierce - Monday November 21, 2022: Its not yet clear where the power boat carrying 25 Creole speaking migrants that grounded against a dock out on the South Causeway last week came from.
In all, twenty-two men and woman, along with three children, apparently fleeing the chaos in Haiti, were detained last Thursday night.
“I’m assuming that it came out of Haiti," said St. Lucie County Sheriff Chief Deputy Brian Hester. "Where it stopped along the way, I don’t know. We ran it, but we couldn’t find any information on it. Q: So, you don’t know if it was stolen. A: No. HSI, CDP, you know they’ll really track that down and find out what happened with it.”
Haitian migrants often come ashore along the Florida Coast in rickety half afloat vessels, unlike the power boat named the 'Cross Star' that these latest migrants arrived in. Based on similar cases in the past, Deputy Chief Hester speculates that its likely the migrants paid a high price for passage to Florida.
“The boat looked nicer than it was from pictures, and the boat was actually in pretty rough shape," he said. "Usually we see anywhere from five, ten, twelve people on those. This one had 25 people on it. For example, if they were getting 25 dollars a head, your talking, all right, $25-thousand dollars.”
Patrol units were close by and because the Cross Star came ashore along the south causeway half-way between the mainland and Hutchinson Island, it wasn’t hard to find them. “They kind of scattered and started going in different directions, fortunately we had some intensified enforcement going on in the northern part of our community and we had a detail working across the street too, so by the time units were able to get into the area on the other side they were able to catch them coming across the bridge.”
Although one of the migrants confirmed they were from Haiti, telling a deputy they were looking for a better life in America, Hester said Hester they were not able to identify the skipper of the vessel who brought them here.
“I’d like to say I’m fairly confident that we got everyone, but that’s hard to say. If there was a straggler or so, they got to wherever they were going, or where they were intended to go.”
All the migrants were taken into custody by Homeland Security which is continuing the investigation.