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Cuban Coast Guard Members Defect to US - 2003-02-07


Four members of the Cuban Coast Guard have defected to the United States after driving their patrol boat to a resort in Florida.

Police officials in Key West said the men dressed in camouflage Coast Guard uniforms surrendered to a police officer early Friday. Officials said the men were taken to a local jail, and will be handed over to U.S. immigration officials.

Police said they confiscated two machine guns and a handgun from the defectors. The U.S. Coast Guard impounded the Cubans' boat, which had been docked at a Hyatt resort.

U.S. immigration law often allows Cuban refugees who are captured on land to remain in the country. Cubans intercepted at sea are usually returned to their home country.

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