Ron DeSantis Says Florida Officers Nabbed Boat With Armed Haitians

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Jason Cohen Contributor
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Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said on Friday his state’s law enforcement intercepted a boat of possible illegal Haitian immigrants with weapons and narcotics.

DeSantis deployed on Wednesday 250 Florida State Guard forces and law enforcement officers to protect against a potential influx of illegal Haitian migrants. Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) officers stopped the boat, which was moving in a way that could have been dangerous, the governor said. (RELATED: US Sends Anti-Terrorism Troops To Haiti As Nation Spirals Into Chaos Under Gang Rule)

“Our Florida Fish and Wildlife officers interdicted a vessel that had 25 illegal immigrants, potential illegal immigrants, from Haiti. In their boat, in their vessel, they had firearms, they had drugs, they had night vision gear and were boating very recklessly, which would potentially endanger other folks,” DeSantis asserted.


The interception took place at around 7:30 PM on Feb. 29, according to a FWC press release.

“Immediately upon stopping the vessel, the officers knew they had intercepted a human smuggling operation,” the press release reads. “The operator of the vessel was armed and onboard; lying prone on the deck of the boat, they discovered 25 individuals, including five unaccompanied children, illegally entering the country. In addition to the individuals onboard, officers discovered firearms, night vision gear and drugs.”

Haiti is currently experiencing turmoil as violent gangs have taken control of the nation’s capital city, crippling its infrastructure and economic stability.

“For quite some time, the State of Florida has been dedicating significant resources to combat illegal vessels coming to Florida from countries such as Haiti,” DeSantis said in a statement on Wednesday. “Given the circumstances in Haiti, I have directed the Division of Emergency Management, the Florida State Guard, and state law enforcement agencies to deploy over 250 additional officers and soldiers and over a dozen air and seacraft to the southern coast of Florida to protect our state.”

DeSantis signed three bills to counter illegal immigration on Friday, which included increasing penalties for certain crimes, according to an office press release.

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