24 Dominicans apprehended off Abaco
A group of Dominicans will be charged before the courts sometime this week with human trafficking and illegal entry into The Bahamas.
The 24 men were found onboard a 65-foot wooden freighter in the vicinity of Hope Town, Abaco on Christmas Eve, the Royal Bahamas Defence Force(RBDF)has reported.
RBDF officers made the discovery after a distress call was sent out by a foreign vessel claiming to be disabled.
Reportedly the Defence Force vessel Dauntless P-49, commanded by Acting Sub Lieutenant Byron McClain responded to the call. Upon the RBDF vessel’s arrival, defence force officers boarded the wooden vessel and discovered the Dominican Republic nationals.
“They were unable to produce proper documentation and were consequently taken under arrest by the RBDF vessel and transported to Marsh Harbour, and turned over to police officials for further processing,”the RBDF confirmed.
“The five crew members are expected to be charged with human trafficking and the 19 passengers with illegal entry into The Bahamas,”according to the RBDF.
The arrest of the Dominicans occurred two days before 80 Haitians were taken into custody some six miles southwest of Matthew Town, Inagua.
The 80 Haitian nationals, comprising 65 males, 11 females and four children, were onboard an unsanitary sailing sloop when they were picked up by RBDF officers,The Guardianwas told.
U.S. Coast Guard officials informed the RBDF vessel Enduring Friendship EF-130, commanded by Petty Officer Lucitas Greene, of the Haitian sloop.
The illegal migrants were picked up and reportedly turned over to the U.S. Coast Guard at about 5 p.m. on Sunday for transport back to Haiti.
“The RBDF continues to appreciate the mutually beneficial relationship between the U.S. Coast Guard and the Force. These combined efforts go a long way in deterring criminal activity in Bahamian waters,”the RBDF said in a statement.