By DENISE MAYCOCK
Tribune Freeport Reporter
A BAHAMIAN man and two Dominicans were detained by US authorities for alleged human trafficking after a small vessel was intercepted off Fort Pierce, Florida, with several illegal migrants aboard.
According to reports, the vessel is believed to have departed from Grand Bahama and was spotted by US Coast Guard officials on Friday, August 12, off Fort Pierce.
The eight migrants on board – five Haitians, two Ecuadorians and one Romanian – were brought back to Grand Bahama on the US Coast Guard Cutter Vessel Paul Clark and turned over to Bahamian immigration authorities. They were flown to New Providence on Monday and are being held at the Detention Centre to await repatriation.
Additionally, several Cuban migrants were intercepted on Saturday.
Immigration officials reported that the US Coast Guard picked up the group, which consisted of six men and one woman, on a rustic vessel heading for the US.
They were instead brought to Grand Bahama and turned over to Bahamian authorities.
A Brazilian man was arrested in Grand Bahama after reportedly attempting to stow away on board the Balearia, which operates fast ferry services to Fort Lauderdale.
According to reports, the 26-year-old man was discovered in the vessel’s cargo hold, hiding among the luggage.
While the vessel was docked at Freeport Harbour, the man had boarded without checking in the “normal” way. He was escorted off the vessel and handed over to Bahamian immigration authorities.
Immigration officials reported that the man had arrived in the Bahamas a week ago from Brazil on board Copa Airline and had overstayed his visitor’s time.
He told officials that he wanted to go to the United States to make a better life for his American-born daughter who now resides in Brazil with her mother.
The man was flown to New Providence on Tuesday and is being detained at the Detention Centre to await repatriation.