Migrants from Russia are smuggled into Key West by boat, officials say


Undocumented migrants from Russia and other former Soviet countries were smuggled Sunday into Key West, Fla., authorities said, raising concerns that the war in Ukraine is spurring refugees and others to seek dangerous new routes to the United States.

Alyson Crean, a spokeswoman for the Key West Police Department, said a boat chartered from Cuba docked at the south end of Duval Street, in the heart of the city’s tourist district, around 4 p.m. Sunday.

Crean said Key West police were called after about 15 of the migrants, whom she identified as being from Russia or other countries, walked into Southernmost Beach Cafe. Police alerted the Department of Homeland Security and its sub-agency, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, about the landfall.

“They docked on a pier there and disembarked and went into the cafe,” said Crean, who referred additional questions to federal investigators.

The Department of Homeland Security confirmed Monday afternoon that 15 migrants from Russia and a pair of former Soviet republics were smuggled into the Keys on a sport-fishing vessel and taken into U.S. Border Patrol custody. Nine are from Russia, four are from Kazakhstan and two are from Kyrgyzstan, officials said, and all are being processed for deportation.


Join now!