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Human Smuggling/Trafficking

Bahamian vessel captain pleads guilty to migrant smuggling

MIAMI - Rick Davis, 31, a Bahamian national, pleaded guilty on Friday to two counts of alien smuggling following an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).

Davis faces a maximum of 10 years in prison on each count at his sentencing scheduled for Feb. 18, 2011.

On Monday, Juantorena Washington Getten, a Jamaican citizen and one of the migrants that Davis attempted to smuggle into the United States, pleaded guilty to illegally re-entering into the United States after deportation.

On Nov. 3, ICE HSI special agents were advised by the U.S. Coast Guard and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) about an attempted alien smuggling off the coast of Deerfield Beach, Fla. After a CBP surveillance aircraft detected a suspicious vessel navigating without any lights in a westerly direction near Deerfield Beach, a CBP marine unit responded and activated its emergency lights to stop the vessel for inspection.  Upon seeing the emergency lights, the captain of the vessel, later identified as Davis, failed to stop, made an abrupt turn and headed away. CBP agents deployed two disabling rounds to one of the vessel's engines and then fired two additional rounds to the second engine.

Subsequent investigation identified the captain of the vessel as Davis.

Davis was smuggling other passengers, including six undocumented Haitians.

The investigation was conducted by ICE HSI in Fort Lauderdale, the Seventh Coast Guard District, CBP Office of Field Operations, Office of Air and Marine, and Miami Sector Border Patrol.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Randy Katz.