Coast Guard raids two illegal charter boats in Miami over the weekend

In the latest bust in the U.S. Coast Guard’s crusade against illegal charter boats, agents raided two boats over the weekend in Miami.

On Saturday, officials terminated the voyages of a 32-foot pleasure craft with 11 people aboard near Haulover Inlet, as well as the trek of 34-foot Sunset Stripp with 12 people aboard near Beer Can Island.

Law Enforcement boat crews conducted boarding of the vessels and discovered drug and alcohol violations, as well as inspection infractions.

“Illegal passenger vessel operations pose a direct, serious safety problem to the passengers onboard and others operating on the water,” said Cmdr. Bradley Clare, chief of prevention at Coast Guard Sector Miami. “The Coast Guard will continue to enforce the law to ensure passenger safety and hold violators accountable.”

Owners and operators of illegal charter vessels can face maximum civil penalties of $41,456 for illegal passenger-for-hire operations, records show.

Packed with bikini-clad models, liquor, drugs and often a celebrity or two, the party yacht has been at peak in Miami.

This weekend’s charter boat raids are the latest in a series of federal operations aimed at cracking down on illegal charters in the wake of the April death of a passenger of the yacht called the Miami Vice.

Miami Herald Staff Writer David Ovalle contributed to this report.