Jan. 5, 2005 — Four Cubans and a Haitian man surrendered to Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents after illegally entering the territory, a federal agent said Thursday.
Two men — a Cuban and a Haitian — surrendered separately to Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers on St. Thomas Wednesday, said ICE spokesman Ivan Ortiz.
The Cuban man told officers he paid a smuggler $8,000 to take him from Cuba to St. John, arriving Jan. 2, Ortiz said.
Officers are investigating the Haitian man's claim that he had paid a migrant smuggler to take him to the Dominican Republic by boat and was mistakenly brought to St. John, Ortiz said.
The Haitian man was held in Puerto Rico and will be repatriated, Ortiz said.
Three other Cubans — two men and a woman — surrendered Dec. 30. They said a smuggler had brought them to St. Thomas from the eastern Caribbean island of Dominica for $3,000, according to Ortiz.
All four Cubans were held in Miami while ICE investigated their arrival. Ortiz could not immediately say if they were seeking asylum.
Authorities have detained more than 1,900 illegal immigrants in the U.S. Virgin Islands since 2001.
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