26 Haitians, 1 Cuban travelling from Guyana arrested in Brazil for illegal entry

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The 27 immigrants arrested in Bon Fin, Brazil

Federal Police in Brazil has arrested 27 immigrants – 26 Haitians and one Cuban – who illegally entered Bom Fin from Guyana.

The Customs Anti-Narcotics Unit (CANU) in Guyana said the more than two dozen immigrants were intercepted during the course of Friday evening and this morning.

In addition to the 26 Haitians and one Cuban, the Federal Police also arrested taxi drivers who were waiting to transport the immigrants in Brazil.

CANU said some of the Haitians arrived in Lethem during this past week and were initially denied entry into Brazil.

“…It was suspected that they would try to use other routes to cross over, hence the information was passed on to Brazilian Counterparts by CANU who then alerted their law enforcement units within the area,” a statement from the Unit today added.

Only recently, Brazil’s Federal Police and CANU signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to share information and conduct joint operations, involving narcotics and other criminal activities.

According to CANU, the arrest of these immigrants can be described as an example of excellent cross-border cooperation.

“This is one of the successes coming out of this arrangement. The movement of persons through unofficial crossings not only poses a security risk but also a health risk due to the ongoing COVID Pandemic,” the Guyanese agency noted.

Guyana has previously been flagged as a transit for narcotics trafficking but more recently, has seen increases in both Haitians and Cubans using the country as a transit point to get to other neighbouring states and even the United States.

Back in December, Attorney General and Legal Affairs Minister Anil Nandlall had disclosed that while Government is grappling with immigrants abusing Guyana as a transit point, the Brazilian government had complained about this practice.

“We have a complaint from the Brazilian Government to say that Guyana is being used as a transshipment point for people smuggling into Brazil. And we are being blamed for this. We are not an island. We are a mainland. And we have extraordinarily wide borders that are almost impossible to monitor and police,” he had said during an interview with Trinidad’s Morning Edition in December 2020.