The captain of the smuggling boat that capsized off Miami Beach last week resulting in the deaths of four Haitian women has been indicted on alien smuggling and involuntary manslaughter charges, and five other men face charges in the incident, authorities said Friday.
The 24-count indictment returned by a federal grand jury Friday charges captain Naaman Davis, 53, and crewman George Lewis, 38, of the Bahamas with conspiracy to encourage and induce aliens to enter the United States resulting in death and encouraging and inducing aliens to enter the United States resulting in death, authorities said in a news release.
Davis is also charged with involuntary manslaughter and illegal re-entry into the United States, while Lewis is also charged with illegal re-entry into the United States by an aggravated felon, announced U.S. Attorney Wifredo Ferrer, Alysa D. Erichs, the Miami special agent in charge for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations, and Rear Admiral John H. Korn, the commander of the 7th U.S. Coast Guard District.
The boat carrying 15 people in all capsized about seven nautical miles from Government Cut last Wednesday. When the Coast Guard found the boat, nine people were clinging to its side. The bodies of the four women, who have not been identified, were later found near the vessel.
Authorities said the boat left from the Bahamas with people aboard from three countries, including Jamaica. None of the people involved in the smuggling operation had permission to enter the U.S.
Four Haitians who were rescued were later released from U.S. immigration custody, a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement spokesman said this week.
Three men who were on board – Matthew Williams, 30, Everton Jones, a.k.a. Everton Bryce, 40, and Kenard Hagigal, 35, all of Jamaica – were charged with illegal re-entry into the United States by an aggravated felon. Another passenger, Sean Gaynor, 37, of Jamaica, was charged with illegal re-entry into the United States.
If convicted, Davis and Lewis face a maximum sentence of life in prison or death, authorities said. Williams, Jones, Bryce, and Hagigal face up to 20 years in prison if they are found guilty, while Gaynor faces a maximum sentence of two years in prison if he is convicted.
It wasn’t immediately known whether the defendants have attorneys.
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