October 27, 2004 – A federal judge granted bail Wednesday to a Virgin Islander charged with smuggling 19 undocumented immigrants into the territory.
Claudell Prosper, of Contant, St. Thomas, was released on $50,000 bail by Judge Geoffrey Barnard.
Prosper and Karl Potter, a citizen of the British Virgin Islands, allegedly tried to smuggle seven Chinese nationals, six Dominican nationals, four Haitians, a Jamaican and one from Dutch St. Maarten into the Virgin Islands on Oct. 17, according to charges filed by the U.S. Attorney's office. "Two Charged With Smuggling Illegal Immigrants"
Potter broke his leg and foot when their 30-foot powerboat allegedly ran into a reef near Little Hans-Lollik Island. The men and immigrants swam to the uninhabited island and were later transported to St. Thomas by U.S. Coast Guard and V. I. officials.
Potter's injuries kept him from the Wednesday court appearance. In a St. Thomas jail cell he awaits a Nov. 10 court appearance.
If found guilty of immigrant smuggling, Potter and Prosper could be sentenced to 10 years in prison, said U.S. Attorney spokesman Azekah Jennings.
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