MIAMI — The U.S. Coast Guard has returned 33 migrants to Haiti who agents intercepted at sea earlier this week.
The agency said in a news release that the 27 men and six women who had been trying to enter the United States were returned to Haiti on Friday.
The Coast Guard cutter Spencer encountered the Haitians on Wednesday on an overloaded 25-foot boat about 35 miles northeast of Tortuga, Haiti.
Crew members found six softball-sized packages of marijuana floating approximately 100 yards from the vessel.
They discovered on board three other packages of marijuana and a package that tested positive for amphetamines.
A criminal complaint was filed in federal court alleging John Phillip Stirling, 65, a citizen of Canada, illegally possessed with the intent to distribute methamphetamine stashed on board a U.S.-flagged vessel.
The Coast Guard crew transferred the Haitians to their cutter and destroyed the other boat since it posed a hazard.
On board, the migrants received food, water, shelter and medical attention.