Tequesta police hope to get money from smuggling boat

Tequesta officer worked with ICE in 2012 case

In February of last year, a Tequesta officer was part of an Immigration and Customs Enforcement effort as a boat was intercepted off the Martin County coastline.

 

A dozen undocumented workers from Brazil and Peru, many stuffed into the front cabin, were picked up.

Two smugglers were eventually sentenced to jail.

 

Now the boat, a 32-foot Scarab, sits in the parking lot behind the Tequesta Police Department.

 

Chief Christopher Elg says having someone from a force as small as theirs working with the federal government is paying big dividends now, and hopefully in the long term.

 

 "As we rotate people in the future into the task force, we get the benefit of that officers experience coming back here, teaching others and knowing what to look for," said the chief.

 

Mayor Abby Brennan said with so much of the village surrounded by water, it's important to protect the coast.

 

"We are a water-based community with the ocean and the Jupiter Inlet.    They're important to us and it's important for the police department to have this experience," the mayor added.

 

And the undercover officer who worked the case says they're busy 24-7, trying to stay one step ahead of the smugglers.

 

 "You get a lot of these guys they get arrested for it and once they get released, they go right back to it, it's an addiction for a lot of them."

 

The next step comes next week when the village council meets to decide whether to sell the boat and for how much.  It could mean tens of thousands of dollars for the police department.

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