BVI man feared dead after jumping overboard

By: BVI News Online

A relatively young man from the British Virgin Islands (BVI) is feared dead after he allegedly jumped from a vessel into the sea a few days ago during a major operation against illegal immigrants in the neighbouring US Virgin Islands (USVI).

The Royal Virgin Islands Police Force has launched a probe into the disappearance of the man.

It is understood that all efforts to contact him since the incident at sea on February 14 have proven futile.

Police Information Officer here in the BVI, Diane Drayton, told BVI News Online: “The RVIPF did receive a report of a missing male. Officers are in communication with USVI authorities in relation to the matter. Investigations are ongoing.”

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The missing man, it is further alleged, was among four persons aboard a vessel spotted by the United States Coast Guard.

One man jumped overboard before the boat stopped, added the US authorities.

A 22-year-old BVI citizen, Ashemba Frett, was arrested and charged based on allegations that he encouraged and induced aliens to illegally enter the United States territory. It is also said that he was the one operating the vessel.

A Haitian national and a national from the Dominican Republic were aboard the boat, but they did not possess any legal document to enter the USVI, law enforcers said.

Under federal law, if convicted of illegally encouraging and inducing aliens to enter the USVI, Frett faces a maximum of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. In the case of a violation in which the offense was done for the purpose of private financial gain, a convicted person would serve not more than 10 years’ imprisonment.

This story has been updated to reflect confirmation of a report filed with BVI police regarding the missing citizen.

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