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FL authorities seize boat carrying Haitian illegals, guns and drugs; on high alert after mass prison break

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Florida’s Republican Governor Ron DeSantis announced Friday that authorities have seized a vessel off the coast that was carrying Haitian illegals, guns, and drugs. “Our Florida Fish and Wildlife offices 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,” the governor said, reported by Fox News.

“That vessel was interdicted near the Sebastian Inlet and those illegal aliens were turned over to the Coast Guard for deportation,” DeSantis added. The Sebastian Inlet is a narrow waterway north of Vero Beach that links the Atlantic Ocean and the Indian River Lagoon.

Just The News notes Haiti’s recent unrest:

Haitian gangs staged a mass prison break and freed roughly 3,700 inmates. Prime Minister Ariel Henry subsequently resigned and the chaos has prompted concerns of a surge in maritime attempts at entry into the U.S.

DeSantis ordered the deployment of more than 250 personnel to the southern coast of Florida ahead of the expect surge in attempted Haitian entries last week. In January of last year, DeSantis activated the National Guard to aid federal authorities in responding to a surge in arrivals to the Florida Keys from Cuba, Haiti, and other Caribbean nations.

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Immigration

DOJ federal indictment connects Sinaloa Cartel and Chinese ‘underground banking’

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The Justice Department (DOJ) announced a huge connection between Chinese organized crime and the Sinaloa drug cartel. In a press release the DOJ reported a 10-count superseding indictment charging Los Angeles-based associates of Mexico’s Sinaloa drug cartel with conspiring with money-laundering groups linked to Chinese underground banking to launder drug trafficking proceeds. During the conspiracy, more than $50 million in drug proceeds flowed between the Sinaloa Cartel associates and Chinese underground money exchanges.”

The indictment was the result of a multi-year investigation into the conspiracy—dubbed “Operation Fortune Runner”— unsealed on Monday charging a total of 24 defendants with one count of conspiracy to aid and abet the distribution of cocaine and methamphetamine, one count of conspiracy to launder monetary instruments, and one count of conspiracy to operate an unlicensed money transmitting business, according to the press release.

“Dangerous drugs like fentanyl and methamphetamine are destroying people’s lives but drug traffickers only care about their profits,” said United States Attorney Martin Estrada. “To protect our community, therefore, it is essential that we go after the sophisticated, international criminal syndicates that launder the drug money. As this indictment and our international actions show, we will be dogged in our pursuit of all those who facilitate destruction in our country and make sure they are held accountable for their actions.”

“Drug traffickers generate immense amounts of cash through their illicit operations. This case is a prime example of Chinese money launderers working hand in hand with drug traffickers to try to legitimize profits generated by drug activities,” said Chief Guy Ficco of IRS Criminal Investigation. “We have made it a priority to identify, disrupt, and dismantle any money launderers working with drug cartels and we are committed to our partnerships with federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies to combat drug cartels and those who assist them in laundering drug proceeds.”

The Justice.Gov website explains of the indictment: “Following close coordination with the Justice Department, Chinese and Mexican law enforcement informed United States authorities that those countries recently arrested fugitives named in the superseding indictment who fled the United States after they were initially charged last year.”

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