Six Caribbean nationals arrested following deadly smuggling trip


[]United States law enforcement authorities confirmed Friday that six of the 11 Caribbean migrants, who survived a deadly smuggling trip that ended when a motorboat capsized seven miles off Miami Beach, have been arrested.

Law enforcement and immigration authorities said those arrested include the Bahamian-born captain of the 25 feet boat, Naaman Davis and Jamaican-born crewman George Lewis.

The arrest comes as authorities investigated the boat accident involving Haitian, Jamaican and Bahamian migrants.

The US Coast Guard said four people were killed and 11 rescued after the boat carrying the Caribbean migrants capsized early Wednesday.

Officials said the six people arrested were previously deported from the US, and that most of them had been convicted of serious crimes.

Lewis faces a charge of attempted smuggling of the migrants, officials said.

The fatal voyage reportedly began in the Bahamas, and ended at about 2:00 a.m. (local time) Wednesday when US Coast Guard crews rescued the survivors.

The criminal complaint said six of the Caribbean migrants interviewed by the US Department of Homeland Security identified Davis and Lewis as the alleged smugglers.

“Another one of the migrants interviewed stated that prior to their being brought ashore, Lewis had directed them all to tell the Coast Guard that the vessel captain swam away and never came back,” according to the complaint.

The Miami Herald newspaper reported that Lewis was deported on May 13 over a drug-trafficking conviction, and that Davis was deported on March 7.

The other four men arrested have been identified as Sean Gaynor, Kenard Hagigal, Matthew Williams and Everton Jones, who is also known as Everton Bryce. All six face charges of entering the US illegally after being deported. [CMC]



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