PHILIPSBURG–Three crew members on board a sailing vessel were detained by the Immigration Department and the St. Maarten Police Force KPSM on Thursday afternoon on suspicion of human trafficking.
A white and blue sailboat flying a tattered Dominica flag docked at the pier in the vicinity of Walter Plantz Square in Philipsburg around 2:00pm Thursday. A person in the area notified authorities because they thought this occurrence to be strange, as boats rarely dock there. Police and immigration were then dispatched to the scene.
After conducting a control, authorities discovered 17 persons on board the vessel – a crew of three Dominica nationals and 14 Haitians thought to be illegal migrants. No drugs were found on the sailboat, police said.
The destination of the sail boat, which originated out of Dominica, is yet unknown. The circumstances that led to the crew’s decision to dock in St. Maarten are also not known as of 5:00pm Thursday. However, authorities say the crew members are suspected of human trafficking. These persons were later arrested and taken to the Philipsburg police station for questioning.
The 14 passengers are being detained by immigration for processing. The sailboat has also been confiscated, pending further investigation.
Bron: Daily Herald