Four Jamaicans are still being detained in the United States after their vessel was destroyed at sea following what’s now being described as false declaration by the US Coast Guard that there was drugs on the boat in mid-October.
The boat’s captain and three others had been in detention for some 73 days in Florida after the interception of the vessel.
The crew were on their way to Venezuela to purchase fish.
The vessel, ‘Lady Lawla’ was intercepted and searched by the US Coast Guard on October 11.
The attorneys representing the ship’s owner are Bert Samuels and Bianca Samuels.
Ms. Samuels, during a media conference today, says the vessel had on board diesel fuel that was duly declared to the Jamaica Customs Agency.
But, she says the Ministry of Foreign Affairs reportedly disclosed that US officials said what they called ‘contraband’ was found on the boat.
The Ministry also advised that the matter was turned over to the Attorney General’s office.
Ms. Samuels says it was the AG’s office that further advised it had been instructed that US law enforcement officials allegedly detected a liquid substance that tested positive for 150 gallons of cocaine in 15 containers.
This led to the detention of the four Jamaicans.
However, Ms. Samuels says the detention of the men was terminated, after a Florida Judge ruled that the 15 containers only had gasoline in them.
But, the attorneys say the men are still in US Immigration custody despite being acquitted and handed back their passports.
Meanwhile, according to Ms. Samuels, it was only through a sworn affidavit that it was revealed the vessel had been destroyed by US officials who were given authorization by the Jamaica Defence Force, JDF.
Ms. Samuels says they were never informed by the local authorities about the JDF giving authorization fro the destruction of the vessel.
In the meantime, Senior Attorney, Bert Samuels, says the destruction of the vessel and the detention of the four locals are raising legal questions.
The senior attorney is also questioning the future of the agreement between Jamaica and the US.
Mr. Samuels is also questioning if his client will be compensated for the destruction of the vessel.