Florida captain accused of smuggling immigrants in Keys

An East Naples charter boat captain arrested Sunday off the Florida Keys faces human smuggling charges.

Federal agents said they found 11 people from three Caribbean countries below deck on his boat. None of the 11 were U.S. citizens, agents said.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection air and marine officers said they were on patrol in Tavernier Creek about 3 p.m. Sunday when they came across Richard Karl Mork's disabled boat and two personal watercraft approaching the boat with two gas cans.

Officers boarded the boat about 3:30 p.m. and found 11 passengers, including two unaccompanied minors, below deck, according to a criminal complaint filed by the Homeland Security Department in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida. The 11 passengers were six Jamaicans, four Haitians and one Bahamian, according to the complaint.

The vessel, named "Scout," was found about 2 nautical miles from Tavernier, south of Key Largo.

Mork and the 11 passengers were taken to a U.S. Coast Guard cutter to be processed.

Agents said Mork told them he left Bimini in the Bahamas with the passengers and intended to bring them to the U.S. Mork's exact destination was not stated in the complaint.

Mork said he ran out of fuel and asked people on the personal watercraft for gas, according to agents.

He also told officials he knew the passengers were not allowed to enter the U.S., according to the complaint.

Naples Daily News


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