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Hillsborough man arrested with 32 Cuban migrants in go-fast boat in Florida Keys, deputies say

The migrants were turned over to U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
More than 30 Cuban migrants were found hiding in a go-fast boat during a traffic stop Monday morning in the Florida Keys, officials said.
More than 30 Cuban migrants were found hiding in a go-fast boat during a traffic stop Monday morning in the Florida Keys, officials said. [ Photo illustration by ASHLEY DYE and DIRK SHADD | Times ]
Published Oct. 12

MARATHON — More than 30 Cuban migrants were found hiding in a go-fast boat during a traffic stop Monday morning in the Florida Keys, officials said.

A Monroe County deputy pulled over a rental truck towing a trailer with a large vessel traveling slower than the speed limit in Marathon, according to sheriff’s office news release. The deputy noted that none of the three children in the truck were restrained by any type of seat belt or child seat.

During a search, many people were found hiding in the forward v-berth area of the boat, for a total of 32 suspected migrants, officials said. The group included two pregnant women and a 17-year-old.

The driver of the truck, 29-year-old Reidel Garcia-Espino of Seffner, told deputies they had been fishing. Officials did not find any fishing gear on the boat.

The migrants were turned over to U.S. Customs and Border Protection. Garcia-Espino was arrested and charged with child neglect. Jail records did not list an attorney for him. It was not immediately known if he would face federal charges.