MIAMI – The US Coast Guard returned 64 Cuban migrants to Cuba on Sunday after finding them at sea Thursday and Friday off the Florida Keys.

Coastguard Lt. Paul Puddington released a statement saying the Cuban migrants were in “makeshift” boats with no safety equipment and were not wearing life jackets.

On Thursday, the crew of Coast Guard Cutter Pablo Valent alerted Coast Guard Sector Key West to the rustic vessel, about 30 miles south of Key West. The Cubans were repatriated to Cuba on July 10, 2022. (Coastguard)

Puddington had a message to Cubans considering the trip dangerous: “Please, for your own safety, do not go to sea.”

In about nine months, crews intercepted 3,067 Cubans, according to the US Coast Guard report released Sunday. That’s more than all the Cuban migrants banned by the Coast Guard from 2017 to 2021.

The crew of Coast Guard Cutter Pablo Valent alerted Coast Guard Sector Key West to the rustic vessel Thursday night about 25 miles south of Key West. The Cubans were repatriated to Cuba on July 10, 2022. (Coastguard)

The Coast Guard released photos of the four boats full of migrants who risked their lives to cross the Florida Straits. Two of the boats appeared to have been made of wood and polystyrene.

On Thursday, the crew of the Cutter Pablo Valent found a group of migrants around 9 p.m., about 25 miles south of Key West. The same crew found another group of migrants the same day around 11:30 p.m., about 30 miles south of Key West.

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On Friday, a Good Samaritan informed Coast Guard Sector Key West of this migrant vessel, about 14 miles south of Boot Key. The Cubans were repatriated to Cuba on July 10, 2022. (Coastguard)

On Friday, a crew intercepted a group around 8:15 a.m., about 14 miles south of Boot Key, and another group around 5:30 p.m., about 40 miles south of Key West.

On Sunday, federal agents arrested nine Cuban migrants after the US Coast Guard found them stranded in the Marquesas Keys, about 20 miles west of Key West, according to Walter N. Slosar, the chief patrol officer in charge of the Miami sector headquarters of Border Patrol.

The US Coast Guard found nine Cuban migrants stranded Sunday in the Marquesas Keys, 20 miles west of Key West. (US Border Patrol)

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