Responding to a tip from the public, a joint police task force last week arrested ten Haitian migrants and a Dominica national who was charged with being engaged in illegal smuggling and illegal entry, according to a Sunday police press release.
After receiving a report last Thursday about a sailboat dropping off people with backpacks at Prickly Pear Island, police and customs officers intercepted a white sailboat heading north away from Prickly Pear and searched the island, the press release states.
During this search, officers found five males and one female “taking refuge in a small building,” the press release states.
Police conducted an additional search the following day, and found two more people on a Prickly Pear beach and two at Leverick Bay in Virgin Gorda, according to the press release.
Police are currently holding the Dominica national — 53-year-old Crawford Sabaroche, who currently resides in St. Maarten — in Paradise Suites Hotel in Road Town pending his appearance in Magistrates’ Court, according to police.
The migrants, eight of whom are male and two of whom are female, are also being held at the hotel pending their deportation, police said.
Police Information Officer Akia Thomas “could not guarantee” whether the detained migrants, Mr. Sabaroche, or the responding officers were tested for Covid-19, she said.
In the past, smugglers have frequently dropped off migrants in remote areas in this territory and told them that they were in the United States Virgin Islands.
In 2018, a 72-year-old man admitted in court to smuggling 21 migrants into the territory after police found a group, including six women and five minors, at Biras Creek.