Thursday, March 31, 2011

Woman calls Miami police after arriving ashore from Cuba

Posted on Thursday, 03.31.11

Woman calls Miami police after arriving ashore from Cuba
By Melissa Sanchez and Tim Chapman

Even by Miami standards, this one is strange.

A young woman outside a Little Havana gas station flagged down a
motorist, borrowed his cell phone and called police.

Her story?

She and nine other Cubans had been abandoned there by smugglers who
dropped them off a few hours earlier.

Yanet Gispert Consuegra, 20, said she and the others - seven men and two
women - left Cuba in a high-speed boat, about 30 feet long, about 1 a.m.
Thursday. Two men piloted the boat, arriving onshore around 6 a.m. She
said she did not know the other passengers.

Gispert, who had never been in Miami, couldn't say where they landed.
But somebody in a vehicle was waiting. That unidentified person drove
the 10 passengers to a house -- she didn't know where that was, either.

The group showered and changed. Then, they were dropped off at a BP gas
station near SW 16 Street and 37 Avenue.

"I don't know what happened," said Gispert, who said she's from Pinar
del Rio. "I'm just here, sitting in this corner."

She said she was headed to family members in Tampa, where she plan to live.

"They're on their way, of course," she said. "We'll see what happens next."

She said she didn't know how much the smuggling fee was. Her stepfather
paid the bill.

Around 12:30 p.m., Miami officer Jorge Guerra arrived. He took a
statement and alerted immigration authorities.

He waited with Gispert until a U.S. Customs and Border Protection agent
arrived. Officials did not immediately comment on her story.

Gispert looked calm and rested. The gas station manager had allowed her
inside, to wait in the comfort of air conditioning.

"I'm a little tired but I'm fine," said Gispert. She left Cuba, she
said, "because I don't agree with what's happening there and I didn't
like it."

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