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Captured migrants, except captain, plead guilty to overstaying

The American captain of a boat that was intercepted off Montagu Beach pleaded not guilty yesterday to charges of overstaying and failing to declare the passengers on his boat.

The Royal Bahamas Defence Force intercepted the vessel, M/V Code Blue, which was captained by Franklyn Burgos, 34, of New York, on December 26.

Seven passengers on the vessel pleaded guilty to charges of overstaying at their arraignment before Magistrate Samuel McKinney.

Irma Paucar, 21, of Ecuador; Jorge Illesca, 44, of Ecuador; Yaneth Ocaipo, 42, of Colombia; Alba Lozano, of Ecuador; Manuel Paucar, 20, of Ecuador; Freddy Ortiz, 19, of Ecuador; and Raul Paucar, 26, of Ecuador, had all been given permission to remain in the country for periods ranging from five to 10 days, the court heard.

However, they did not receive extensions from the Department of Immigration.

McKinney ordered each of them to pay fines of $1,500 to avoid spending nine months in prison. Following payment of the fines or the completion of their sentences, they will be turned over to Immigration officials for deportation.

The defense force detained another man, Migel Roach, a 43-year-old Jamaican, swimming in waters near the Code Blue.

As there was no record of Roach clearing immigration, he was charged with illegal landing.

McKinney remanded Burgos, the captain, and Roach, who are represented by Jerone Roberts, to prison until January 3 in light of their not guilty pleas.

Burgos is also accused of breaching Customs regulations by allegedly failing to declare his passengers.

Senior Reporter at The Nassau Guardian
Artesia primarily covers court stories, but she also writes extensively about crime.
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