Human smuggling attempt using jet ski ends with 5 arrests

PORT HURON, Mich. — U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers, in cooperation with a host of law enforcement partners, thwarted a human smuggling attempt Saturday in which a jet ski was used to bring migrants into the United States from Canada.

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According to a news release, a jet ski was observed leaving Canada and crossing the border on the St. Clair River.

Agents flying around the Blue Water Bridge watched the jet ski stop near Port Huron, where two people got off the jet ski, which then returned to Canada. The two people then got into a vehicle, which CBP agents stopped, resulting in the arrests of a 39-year-old U.S. citizen who was driving and two migrants, identified as 34- and 35-year-old Brazilian nationals who admitted to crossing the border illegally, WJBK reported.

A short while later, the same jet ski was observed returning to the U.S. A 47-year-old man and 44-year-old woman, both of whom are Brazilian nationals, got off the jet ski and were arrested after admitting they also entered the U.S. illegally, the TV station reported.

The driver of the first vehicle stopped was charged with unlawful transportation, while authorities are seeking illegal entry into the United States charges against the four migrants, WJBK reported.

“This is a testament to how federal and international partnerships are vital in our border security mission,” Marc Sledge, director of the Great Lakes Air and Marine Branch, said in a prepared statement.

According to the CBP, the arrests were executed in partnership with the Department of Homeland Security’s Alliance Human Smuggling and Trafficking Task Force, in coordination with the Detroit Sector U.S. Border Patrol, Great Lakes Air and Marine Branch, Royal Canadian Mounted Police, Homeland Security Investigations and the FBI.

“I could not be prouder of the men and women of Detroit Sector,” Chief Patrol Agent Robert Danley stated.

“These criminals made their brazen attempt on a busy weekend without regard or fear of our law-abiding community. While our strong U.S. and Canadian law enforcement partnerships facilitated a quick resolution, it cannot overshadow the role the community can play in our success. We continue to encourage the community to provide tips on suspicious activity,” he added.