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  1. Homeland Security Investigations (HSI)
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  3. Florida Man Indicted for Smuggling 25 Migrants from the Bahamas Aboard Boat

Florida Man Indicted for Smuggling 25 Migrants from the Bahamas Aboard Boat

Release Date: March 7, 2024

ORLANDO, Fla. — A Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Space Coast investigation has led to the indictment of a Florida man charged with 25 counts of human smuggling.

If convicted, Michael Andrew Milano, 42, of Merritt Island, faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in federal prison for each count. The indictment also notifies Milano that the United States intends to forfeit any property traceable to proceeds of the offense and any property or conveyances used to facilitate or commit the offenses.

According to court documents, on Feb. 29, 2024, Milano and a companion traveled from Brevard County to the Bahamas in a 42-foot fishing vessel. During a brief stop in the Bahamas, Milano loaded 25 non-U.S. citizen migrants onto the vessel, returning to Brevard County shortly thereafter. Milano allegedly forced all 25 migrants to lie flat on the deck of the vessel throughout the voyage back to the United States.

That evening, as officers from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission were conducting routine safety inspections in the Intracoastal Waterway and Indian River region, they encountered Milano and boarded his vessel. On board, they discovered the migrants, still lying flat on the deck. Federal and local law enforcement agencies responded, and the U.S. Coast Guard took custody of the migrants to process and repatriate them.

An indictment is merely a formal charge that a defendant has committed one or more violations of federal criminal law, and every defendant is presumed innocent unless, and until, proven guilty.

This case was investigated by HSI Space Coast, with valuable assistance from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, U.S. Customs and Border Protection's Air and Marine Operations, U.S. Border Patrol, the Brevard County Sheriff’s Office, the Indian River County Sheriff’s Office, and the U.S. Coast Guard. It will be prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Richard Varadan.

Last Updated: 04/22/2024
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