BOYNTON BEACH, Fla. — The U.S. Customs and Border Protection said Friday that 19 Haitian nationals were arrested near Boynton Beach in a maritime smuggling event.
The Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office said they received a report around midnight that a vessel landed at a boat ramp located at Harvey Oyer Park.
Witnesses said they saw the boat offloading the migrants.
PBSO spokeswoman Teri Barbera said attempts to locate the vessel were unsuccessful, and it was last seen heading east out of the inlet back to the ocean.
#BreakingNews: #USBP Miami Sector Agents responded to a maritime smuggling event near Boynton Beach #Florida & arrested 19 Haitian nationals with support from @CBPAMO, @PBCountySheriff, & @BBPD partners. The suspect vessel fled from the scene. An investigation is ongoing. pic.twitter.com/p7f3UhytMO— Chief Patrol Agent Thomas G. Martin (@USBPChiefMIP) January 22, 2021
"We are currently working with our partner law enforcement agencies in an attempt to identify the vessel and/or smugglers involved in the incident. The investigation is ongoing," according to a statement from Border Patrol.
Officials said 10 women and nine men were taken into custody.
The Haitian nationals were processed for removal proceedings and are being held in federal custody. There were no reported injuries involved in the incident.
Border Patrol said they received assistance from Boynton Beach police and PBSO in the case.