A man who helped a group of migrants on a boat out at sea near South Florida ended up getting arrested and charged with human trafficking.
Luis Alberto said he was detained by the U.S. Coast Guard last Wednesday after helping rescue a boat in distress.
Alberto was on his boat fishing with a friend near Marathon Key when they heard people screaming. When he turned on a flashlight, he saw a group of migrants calling for help. A 5-year-old boy was among the group.
Alberto’s wife said he told the migrants that he couldn't help them, but he felt bad after they begged him. He ended up letting them all on his boat.
Minutes later, the Coast Guard intervened and arrested Alberto.
The U.S. Coast Guard didn’t directly address this particular case but said they encourage mariners to help people in distress in the water. After rendering aid to people in distress, mariners should notify the Coast Guard immediately before going to land to avoid arrest.
Defense attorney Willy Allen doesn’t represent Alberto but said it's up to the Coast Guard and ICE to prove Alberto was doing anything other than help.
On Monday, the Coast Guard repatriated 46 Cubans who tried to sail to the U.S. last week. That makes 323 repatriations since last October.