Share

4 Jamaican fishermen detained on Coast Guard ships

Share

WASHINGTON (AP) — Four Jamaican fishermen were detained for nearly a month aboard U.S. Coast Guard vessels in the Caribbean Sea, spending much of their time chained to the deck in the blistering sun while their families believed they were dead, according to a lawsuit filed Wednesday.

The Coast Guard said officers interdicting the vessel on Sept. 14, 2017, saw the crew toss packages of marijuana into the water and they recovered about 600 pounds.

The American Civil Liberties Union said the men had inadequate bedding, were given rancid food and deprived of water. They were also not allowed to wash off the salt and grime from their skin and received little to no medical treatment for their injuries, according to the lawsuit, which seeks damages on behalf of the men through maritime law.

“There are no human rights out there,” Luther Fian Patterson, one of the fishermen, said in statement. “They treat you like animals. You are like an animal … chained to the deck on your foot.”

The crew of the 32-foot fishing vessel Josette was caught up in an effort by the U.S. to interdict drugs at sea. The Maritime Drug Law Enforcement Act of 1986 made smuggling in international waters a crime against the U.S., so anyone caught moving drugs on the water could be prosecuted even if those drugs were not bound for the U.S. The Coast Guard is the agency tasked with hunting down potential smugglers, arresting them and bringing them to the U.S. for prosecution.

Trending:
No Woke Agenda in Court: Rittenhouse Judge Says Rioters Can't Be Called 'Victims,' Approves This List Instead

The lawsuit said there were no drugs found on the crew and none aboard when the Coast Guard searched the vessel. It said the men planned to line fish for tuna and snapper and had set fishing traps in Morant Cays, about eight hours from Falmouth, Jamaica, a popular fishing spot. An unexpected storm blew up and their power went out and they got lost, and started navigating toward land, not realizing it was Haiti, the suit said.

After detaining the fishermen, the Coast Guard said it sought permission from Jamaica to prosecute them in the U.S. When Jamaica complied, they set out.

The men were transferred several times to other vessels, in part because Hurricane Maria started to strike and the Coast Guard was responding to the disaster, according to Coast Guard Lt. Cmdr. Scott McBride, the chief of media relations. They couldn’t transfer the men ashore in Puerto Rico, a closer destination, because the island had been devastated by the hurricane.

“The Coast Guard complies with both international and U.S. domestic law and works closely with our Department of Justice and Department of State colleagues to ensure that compliance,” McBride said in a statement. “All suspects are cared for humanely while preserving the security of both the crew and suspects.”

The men claim the Coast Guard burned their boat, made them strip and refused to allow them to make a phone call to their family until they landed in Miami in mid-October.

The men were ultimately not charged with drug crimes but were accused of making false statements to prosecutors about the destination of their boat. In the lawsuit, the men said they pleaded guilty because their lawyers advised it. They served about 10 months and then were deported back to Jamaica.

The Western Journal has not reviewed this Associated Press story prior to publication. Therefore, it may contain editorial bias or may in some other way not meet our normal editorial standards. It is provided to our readers as a service from The Western Journal.

Truth and Accuracy

Submit a Correction →



loading

We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.

Tags:
Share
The Associated Press is an independent, not-for-profit news cooperative headquartered in New York City. Their teams in over 100 countries tell the world’s stories, from breaking news to investigative reporting. They provide content and services to help engage audiences worldwide, working with companies of all types, from broadcasters to brands.
The Associated Press was the first private sector organization in the U.S. to operate on a national scale. Over the past 170 years, they have been first to inform the world of many of history's most important moments, from the assassination of Abraham Lincoln and the bombing of Pearl Harbor to the fall of the Shah of Iran and the death of Pope John Paul.

Today, they operate in 263 locations in more than 100 countries relaying breaking news, covering war and conflict and producing enterprise reports that tell the world's stories.
Location
New York City




loading

Conversation