MIAMI — The U.S. Coast Guard stopped a disabled boat in perilous seas off the Florida Keys Monday morning that law enforcement sources say was packed with people attempting to migrate from Haiti.

The boat was stopped about 20 nautical miles off Rodriguez Key, a small island off Key Largo, one law enforcement source said. The Coast Guard said in a statement that its crews initially rescued 22 people.

Coast Guard spokeswoman Petty Officer Nicole Groll said rough seas and high winds are making the rescue effort difficult. Images released from the Coast Guard show several young children were on the migrant vessel.

The Coast Guard declined to confirm the nationalities of the people on the boat, but two sources said they are from Haiti.

The Upper Keys, particularly the area in north Key Largo near the gated community of the Ocean Reef Club, has been the destination of several large landings of Haitian migrants over the past year:

— In early August, a sailboat with more than 300 people from Haiti grounded off Ocean Reef, with more than 100 people jumping off the vessel and swimming to the shore of the exclusive community and resort.

— In March, 356 people from Haiti arrived in an overloaded freighter just offshore of Ocean Reef.

— In January, a group of 176 Haitians arrived in almost the same spot.

— The trend began last November with a group of 63 people arriving in a rickety sailboat just offshore of Card Sound Road, a remote two-lane highway that leads to Ocean Reef, followed by 52 people arriving in the area on another sailboat Christmas Eve.


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