By DENISE MAYCOCK
Tribune Freeport Reporter
IMMIGRATION officials on Grand Bahama broke up a suspected human smuggling operation over the weekend in the Lucaya area, where some six people were taken into custody.
Immigration officer Napthali Cooper said three Dominicans and three Brazilians were discovered on board a private vessel during the early hours on Saturday. A team of immigration officers, with the assistance of the Royal Bahamas Police Force Marine Division, acting on information went to the Lucaya area where they intercepted a vessel believed to be involved in a human smuggling operation heading to the United States.
On stopping the vessel they discovered the six undocumented immigrants – five men and one woman on board the boat. Mr Cooper said the immigrants had initially entered the Bahamas legally, but their status had since expired.
He said that none of the immigrants possessed proper visas to enter the US and were taken into custody, then to Department of Immigration headquarters for processing.
Mr Cooper indicated immigration officials also conducted checks at various work sites on Saturday which resulted in the apprehension of five Haitian nationals and one Jamaican national.
He reported the Haitian immigrants – four men and one woman – had entered the country illegally by boat from Haiti – one of them in 2015 and three just this year. The fifth had once possessed legal status which has since expired. Mr Cooper said a Jamaican male, whose legal status in the Bahamas had expired, was also apprehended in the Freeport area.
The three Brazilians, three Dominicans, five Haitians, and one Jamaican were all flown to New Providence on Monday to be detained at the Detention Centre to await repatriation to their respective countries.