Feb. 7, 2006 — British police arrested six illegal immigrants left on a remote British Virgin Island by a smuggler who claimed it was U.S. soil, police said Tuesday.
Four men from the Dominican Republic and two men from Cuba told British authorities as many as 20 other illegal immigrants were on the smuggling boat that left them on sparsely inhabited Peter Island, some five miles south of Tortola, said Tamara Archibald-Gill, a Royal British Virgin Islands Police spokeswoman.
Arrested late Friday, the men told immigration officials they had paid a smuggler (US) $1,000 for a boat ride to St. Thomas from St. Martin, Archibald-Gill said.
Five of the men were arrested aboard a ferry from Peter Island to Tortola and the sixth was arrested at a gas station on eastern Tortola, she said.
Police were still investigating information about the smuggler and the location of the other illegal immigrants, Archibald-Gill said.
The men are in police custody and will be repatriated, she said.
Had the men made it to the U.S. Virgin Islands, less than five miles away, the Cubans would likely not have been repatriated and had a chance to apply for U.S. citizenship.
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