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Jamaicans nabbed in Florida migrant bust

Published:Thursday | April 22, 2010 | 12:00 AM


United States (US) police, backed by helicopter units swooped on a group of illegal immigrants smuggled in from The Bahamas, arresting 15 from Haiti, Jamaica and Sri Lanka, smuggled in by sea by Cubans, authorities and local media said recently.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) said 15 illegal migrants who arrived at Haulover Beach in Fort Lauderdale, just north of Miami, late last week Monday were detained the following day, as the investigation into the incident continues.

Still investigating

Most of the migrants "are men and women from Haiti and Jamaica, and four of them are from Sri Lanka" who were smuggled into Florida "from the Bahamas," ICE spokeswoman Nicole Navas told AFP.

She said police were still investigating how many migrants escaped arrest on arrival.

Two Cubans apparently organised the operation, the ICE said.

A security guard at a condominium called the police when he saw the migrants jump out of a boat and desperately run for cover in the bushes. Witnesses told local television that police captured many of the migrants at gunpoint.

The Bahamas is a frequent stopover point for human traf-ficking operations that charge usually from US$5,000-US$10,000 to bring migrants into the US illegally.