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Photos: FL National Guardsmen Patrol the Keys Amid Illegal Boat Landings

Townhall Media/Julio Rosas

FLORIDA KEYS — Townhall was given exclusive access to the Florida National Guard operations in the Keys as the increase in illegal boat landings has caused a crisis in the popular tourist destination.

The National Guard, Highway Patrol, and the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission have been ordered by Governor Ron DeSantis (R) to the area to reinforce local law enforcement after requests came from Monroe County and the U.S. Coast Guard.

The full story about the embed can be read here. These are the photos taken during a patrol on a CH-47 Chinook on Saturday.

"Basically, we identify, detect, and we report back any migrant landings that we observed, anybody in distress, life-saving issues. We work with our state and local partners basically, call that in to make sure that we get assistance to that boat or to that vessel," battalion commander Lt. Col. Brian Cooper told Townhall.

"I think we're going to be doing a lot of deterrence operations. We cover roughly 612 nautical miles of coastline right now with the assets that we have. We can surge more [assets], which would cover even greater miles out, so the actual square miles we cover alone is definitely going to be added," Cooper added.

Townhall Media/Julio Rosas

Townhall Media/Julio Rosas

Townhall Media/Julio Rosas

Townhall Media/Julio Rosas

Townhall Media/Julio Rosas

Townhall Media/Julio Rosas

Townhall Media/Julio Rosas

Townhall Media/Julio Rosas

Townhall Media/Julio Rosas

Townhall Media/Julio Rosas

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