Monday, May 20

St. Lucie, Indian River and Martin County Sheriff’s Office on alert over situation in Haiti

With the situation in Haiti growing more uncertain by the day, law enforcement is preparing for another potential influx of migrant landings on Treasure Coast shores.

St. Lucie County Sheriff Keith Pearson and members of his marine unit were out in the Fort Pierce Inlet Monday.

This is the ideal landing spot for migrants crossing over from the Bahamas, Pearson said.

The sheriff said intelligence gathered has many migrants currently in the Bahamas, looking for that opportunity to head west.

So the marine unit has company.

There is a large increase in Florida Highway Patrol along our Treasure Coast borders,” Pearson said,.”Not only in St. Lucie, but Martin and Indian River.”

Back in February, 32 Haitian migrants were intercepted in the area.

“We dont know what their intentions were. We just know they were entering our country illegally,” Pearson said. “Those immigrants were given water and food. Thankfully nobody had any medical needs, so we didnt need to provide any medical service.

The sheriff recently sent out an audio call to residents in a message to residents asking them to report any suspicious activity and notifying them of the increased patrols on land and at sea.

Indian River County Sheriff Eric Flowers said his agency and Fish and Wildlife agents intercepted a boat with two dozen migrants at the Sebastian Inlet a few weeks ago.

Our ag/marine team is out there actively looking at the waterways and our helicopter,” Flowers said. “We do flights at night looking for boats coming in.

Martin County Sheriff William Snyder, who recently traveled to the southern border, said his county has a few problems one of which is a building height limit that creates dark beaches.

The smugglers know it,” Snyder said. “If youre a human smuggler picking up human cargo in the islands, you know shooting straight across from the Treasure Coast, you may get by with it.

The overriding message is that the eyes of law enforcement are focused on the coast, and they hope residents eyes are as well.

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