A BAHAMIAN boat captain, who has pleaded guilty to charges of smuggling resulting in the drowning of four Haitian women, was smoking crack-cocaine and drinking rum at the time the vessel he was steering capsized off the coast of Miami, Florida.
According to US District Court documents released yesterday Naaman Davis, 53, on Thursday admitted guilt as part of a plea deal agreement in a Miami federal court to charges of smuggling resulting in death and helping aggravated felons re-enter the US.
Prosecutors are reported by The Associated Press to seek the dismissal of other charges against Davis, including involuntary manslaughter, after his sentencing scheduled for July 21.
However, he still faces a maximum sentence of life in prison.
Davis was hired to captain a 24-foot motorboat carrying illegal migrants from Bimini to South Florida last October. The boat left Bimini on October 15 with 15 people from the Bahamas, Haiti and Jamaica on board. None was permitted to enter the US.
Court documents reveal that Davis had drunk rum from a bottle before the boat left Bimini and smoked crack-cocaine during one of the several times the vessel stalled en route.
In the early hours of October 16, the boat began to take on water.
Someone on board, who has not been identified in the court documents, contacted authorities at 1:20am to report that the vessel was in distress.
In the 911 call for help the person confirms that the boat was sinking and in the background there were screams and weeping. When asked, the caller said he did not know the boat’s location. The US Coast Guard was then contacted by Miami-Dade dispatch.
It took the US Coast Guard approximately 40 minutes to find the boat seven miles east of Miami, where it was discovered that not only were people on top of the capsized vessel, but others were in the water.
The four women drowned as they were trapped underneath the boat.
Davis, who had previously been deported from the US in March, 2013, was among the 11 survivors found clinging to the hull.
Six people, including Davis and his crew, were arrested. Of the 11 survivors, federal authorities said almost all of them had previously been deported from the US, most of them after being convicted of serious crimes.
The Associated Press reported that another Bahamian national, who survived the capsize, faces up to 20 years in prison after pleading guilty on Tuesday to illegally re-entering the US after being deported.