The seven Jamaicans who were among persons on a boat that crashed in Pompono Beach in Florida last Thursday are still being held by US Border Patrol for processing.
Information reaching The Gleaner is that about 17 people were aboard the vessel that left the Bahamas for Florida.
Including the Jamaicans, those aboard the boat were nationals from Haiti, Bahamas, Venezuela, and Romania.
Two of the Jamaicans are being held at the Chrome Immigration Facility while the others have been taken to other centres.
They have all been provided with attorneys.
The Gleaner has been informed that the Jamaicans have not been handed over to the Jamaican authorities.
At a recent news conference, Commissioner of Police Major General Antony Anderson indicated that four of seven are linked to criminal activities in Jamaica.
The Jamaicans reportedly flew to the Bahamas from Jamaica to link up with the boat.
It is further reported that they paid over US$5,000 each to be smuggled into the US.
Law enforcement officials acknowledged that the trip to the Bahamas by the smugglers has become the preferred route to get people into America illegally.
A highly-placed official told The Gleaner that this is not the first such incident.
He said that people are looking for unconventional ways to enter the US.
“This is being highlighted because it made the news but there have been other incidents which have flown under the radar,” the official said.
According to US Homeland Security sources, Border Patrol agents have intensified their monitoring of coastal waters and that the investigation is ongoing.
Meanwhile, officials of the Jamaican consulate in Miami are monitoring the situation.
Lester Hinds, Gleaner Writer