International

Bahamian, Chinese Nationals Intercepted During Human Smuggling Operation

A Bahamian and a group of Chinese nationals were intercepted by the U.S. Coast Guard at sea during a human smuggling operation.

The immigrants were taken to Grand Bahama on Jan. 28, but the Bahamian man was detained by Coast Guard officials and is expected to face possible prosecution in the U.S. for human smuggling, according to Grand Bahama immigration officials.

According to reports, sometime about 6 p.m. Jan. 20 at Freeport Harbour, officials of the USCG Cutter William Flores arrived with 10 Chinese immigrants — seven men and three women —who were discovered aboard a vessel piloted by a Bahamian man, heading toward Florida.

Immigration official Napthali Cooper said the migrants were turned over to immigration officials and officers of the Royal Bahamas Defence Force. They were taken to immigration headquarters in Freeport for processing.

He noted that all of the migrants had entered the Bahamas legally from China via Panama onboard Copa Airlines and were admitted as visitors into the Bahamas sometime before Christmas.

Cooper reported that the migrants were examined by the medical team from the Disease and Surveillance Unit of the Public Hospitals Authority before being flown to New Providence, where they are detained at the Detention Centre to await repatriation to China.

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