Jamaican authorities say that the majority of migrants who arrived illegally in South Florida on a boat last Thursday are linked to criminal activities in Jamaica.
Broward County and U.S. Border Patrol authorities detained 14 migrants, including Jamaicans, who were traveling in a boat that came ashore. WPLG-TV reported the migrants were coming from Jamaica and had first traveled to The Bahamas.
One of the migrant men, later identified as Deon Cooke, told the TV station as he was being handcuffed in Pompano Beach, Florida, that he was fleeing from violence in his home country.
“There’s killing going on there. We want a better life. No life is in Jamaica right now,” he said. Cooke, popularly known as ‘Boobie Skeng’, is reported to have wielded significant influence in the east Kingston community of Dunkirk.
At a press conference on Sunday, Jamaica’s police commissioner, Major Antony Anderson was asked if there was an investigation into why the migrants had fled the country. He revealed that of the 14 people that were detained, seven were Jamaican. Four of the seven have also been linked to criminal activity on the island.
“We have been working with our international partners in this and have found criminal traces for four of the seven so far and only a couple of weeks before that, we know that another person who is wanted in Jamaica tried to enter the United States in a similar way but was found and sent back to us,” Anderson said.
He said that local law enforcement authorities are now in dialogue with their US counterparts to exchange additional information on the illegal migrants.
According to the Miami Herald, the other seven migrants traveled from Haiti and the Dominican Republic. The US Homeland Security says Border Patrol agents have intensified surveillance of travel routes between the Caribbean and the Us in a bid to stem the flow of illegals.