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CBS12 Investigates exposes a hole in border security. (WPEC)

Investigative report exposes a hole in border security

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By Michael Buczyner

PALM BEACH COUNTY, Fla. (WPEC) — A WPEC (CBS12) investigation found the Border Patrol sector patrolling the Florida coastline has significantly less staff than other borders in America.

Consequently, they are having a hard time putting a stop to criminals trying to smuggle people and drugs into local communities.

HUMAN SMUGGLING

CBS12 obtained never before seen video from United States Border Patrol from Florida's southern Atlantic coast.

The video shows nighttime footage of human smuggling arriving on the Palm Beach County coast, not far from the Winter White House, Mar-a-Lago.

People, like those on the boat, pay thousands of dollars for a risky ride to illegally enter our country.

“We are definitely a prime landing spot of these trans-national criminal organizations that want to smuggle people and contraband into Florida," said Border Patrol Division Chief Peter Daniel.

CBS12 Investigates obtained federal documents that show border agents from Florida to the Carolinas apprehended 4,370 people from 64 countries around the world trying to enter illegally.

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Some of the people are from countries that the State Department labels "high-risk" like Syria, Sudan, and even Egypt.

CBS12 asked former CIA Officer Lisa Ruth if ISIS is eyeing the Florida coast, "Absolutely and I think it would be naive to think otherwise," she said. "You're seeing people come for a better life. You're also seeing criminals. You're also seeing terrorists coming in."

"A lot of them are economic migrants. Some of them are aliens that have traveled from countries of interest," Division Chief Daniel said.

FEWER RESOURCES

According to Border Patrol, the Miami Sector has 111 agents to patrol 1,200 miles of coastal border.

Division Chief Daniel called it a “challenge".

CBS12 research found, while area border agents patrol 1,200 miles with 111 agents, border agents patrol the same distance of 1,200 miles across America's southwest border with Mexico with more than 11,000 agents.

Border Patrol has another challenge in the area; “Miami Sector border patrol does not have any vessels assigned to us," Division Chief Daniel said.

That’s right. 1,200 miles to patrol and no boat of their own to patrol.

"We certainly are challenged by the fact that particular resource isn't always made available to us," Daniel said.

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Border Patrol gets to use the United States Coast Guard.

That's how they patrol the border, by hitching a ride.

"We need to get on a Coast Guard vessel to do our mission," Daniel said.

Ruth sees it as a problem, "Terrorists know where we are weak. They know when we're weak, and they know that trek from the Bahamas to Florida is an easy one."

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