Bahamas: Police arrest five undocumented Ecuadorians in Bimini

By Rumi Samuel Published on February 11, 2022
Bahamas: Police arrest five undocumented Ecuadorians in Bimini

After police on Tuesday discovered five undocumented Ecuadorians on Bimini, Assistant Superintendent of Police Stephen Rolle said yesterday that it has not yet been determined whether the incident was one of human smuggling.

“I can’t confirm at this point,” Rolle said.

“The most I can say is that they had the information they were acting on, and they proceeded to that area and were able to apprehend those illegal immigrants. Now, whether more persons on the island are illegal, I can’t say at this point.”

Rolle added, “I can say it’s illegal entry at this point. To say whether it’s human [smuggling], it’s too early in the stage.”

Shortly before 3 p.m. on Tuesday, officers at the Alice Town Police Station received a report of a vehicle in the area of a local resort with undocumented migrants inside, police said.

“Upon the officers’ arrival, they observed several persons exiting the vehicle running into an apartment unit situated on the premises of the local resort,” police said.

Officers entered the apartment through the front door and saw several people exit the building through another door.

A chase ensued, and five Ecuadorians were caught, four men and one woman, police said.

“They were all handed over to The Bahamas Department of Immigration for further investigation,” police said.

Last month, Bimini came under the international spotlight after a boat carrying over 30 undocumented migrants capsized off Florida.

The lone survivor, a man from Colombia, told US officials that the vessel had departed from Bimini.

Rolle said yesterday that police on the island are looking into that incident.

“I know the officers on the island are doing some investigation into that latest boating accident that claimed the lives of those persons on board,” he said.

In recent months, there have been several cases of suspected human smuggling operations in The Bahamas.

Last month, there were two incidents on Bimini.

The Royal Bahamas Defence Force (RBDF) uncovered a possible migrant smuggling operation on January 16.

Operation Bahamas Turks and Caicos (OPBAT) reported a possible mayday call in the Bimini area and found a boat taking on water due to poor weather conditions.

Six people were on the boat – two Bahamians, two Colombians and two Ecuadorians.

On January 21, the RBDF said 31 suspected migrants were rescued in waters southwest of Bimini, a joint effort by the defence force, OPBAT, the police force, and the USCG.

Rolle said yesterday that police had noticed an increase in reports of suspected human smuggling in Bimini.

“Based on the last reports we’ve been getting, it’s safe to say that we saw an increase in the human smuggling in those islands, and hopefully, we can bring some kind of resolve to those matters,” he said.

Rumi Samuel

Rumi Samuel

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