The Bexar County Sheriff's Department is recommending criminal charges against Florida and its Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis for sending 49 illegal migrants on a plane to Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts, last year.
The Miami Herald reported Monday that the sheriff's office announced in a statement that it is recommending both felony and misdemeanor charges of "unlawful restraint" after investigating the state's move.
"The case filed includes both felony and misdemeanor charges of Unlawful Restraint," according to the statement. "At this time, the case is being reviewed by the DA's office. Once an update is available, it will be provided to the public."
The flights from San Antonio to Martha's Vineyard took place in September 2022, and were arranged and paid for by Florida's illegal migrant relocation program, the report said.
The sheriff's office initiated an investigation following the incident, where the migrants stayed on the affluent island for about 48-hours before being taken to a military base for housing.
Critics claimed at the time that the mostly Venezuelan migrants were "lured" with promises of employment once they arrived in Massachusetts, the report said.
The announcement comes as California is investigating where flights of illegal migrants arriving there were arranged from, possibly including Florida, the report said.
"We are investigating the circumstances by which these individuals were brought to California. We are also evaluating potential criminal or civil action against those who transported or arranged for the transport of these vulnerable immigrants," Attorney General Rob Bonta said in a statement issued by his office.
Migrant attorney Rachel Self called for DeSantis and his aides to be prosecuted for the flights to both states.
"The fact that no charges have yet been filed has clearly left the Florida authorities with the impression that they can keep acting this way with impunity," Self told the Herald. "The people who perpetrated this need to know: no matter who you are, you aren't above the law. A lesson needs to be taught."
DeSantis' office did not respond to the Herald's requests for comment, the report said.
The New York Times reported in October 2022 that fellow Republican Texas Gov. Greg Abbott was not informed by DeSantis that the migrants would be going someplace other than Florida.
The migrants told the Times that they were "recruited" to get on the flights to Massachusetts by a former counterintelligence agent and combat medic discharged from the U.S. army in August 2022 after 22 years in the service.
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