Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Pilot of boat that capsized off Florida coast, killing 9, is charged

MIAMI — A Haitian man was charged with human smuggling Monday after federal authorities accused him of piloting a boat overloaded with migrants that capsized off Florida's coast, killing at least nine people, including a pregnant woman.

Jimmy Metellus, 33, is scheduled to appear in federal court Wednesday on charges of smuggling that caused the death of another person. Court records did not list an attorney for him Monday. A conviction could result in the death penalty or life in prison.

Metellus, a Haitian citizen who also has permanent U.S. resident status, was among 16 people rescued when the boat capsized early last Wednesday off Boynton Beach, about 60 miles north of Miami. Most of the survivors — 15 Haitians and one Jamaican — will be deported to their home countries.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement said the dead included two men, six women and an infant. Authorities also issued a separate death certificate for the pregnant woman's 8-month-old unborn fetus.

Two women and a baby remained hospitalized Monday, and the other survivors were in immigration custody. Five people are listed as missing.

"Tragically, many have lost their lives while attempting this illegal and treacherous trip," said Anthony Mangione, chief of the ICE Office of Investigations in Miami.

According to an ICE agent, Metellus told investigators he was hired by a man known only as "Shine" to pilot the vessel from the Bahamas to the United States with about 30 undocumented migrants aboard. The affidavit says Metellus was offered $6,000 for the trip but decided instead to be paid with free passage on the boat.

It was unclear how many people were involved in the smuggling operation, and investigators are not certain what caused the boat to overturn and sink about 15 miles off Florida's coast.

Pilot of boat that capsized off Florida coast, killing 9, is charged 05/18/09 [Last modified: Monday, May 18, 2009 11:30pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Florida beats LSU, wins first College World Series title

    College

    OMAHA, Neb. — Florida scored four runs in the eighth inning to pull away from LSU, and the Gators beat their SEC rival 6-1 Tuesday night to complete a two-game sweep in the College World Series finals for their first national title in baseball.

    UF’s Nelson Maldonado, left, and Deacon Liput high-five after a run scores.
  2. Fatal crash closes westbound lanes on Park Boulevard N in Pinellas Park

    Accidents

    Westbound lanes on Park Boulevard N are closed at 62nd Way N in Pinellas Park following a fatal crash late Tuesday night.

  3. St. Petersburg showdown: Kriseman and Baker pull no punches in first forum

    Local Government

    A standing-room-only crowd packed a Midtown church banquet hall Tuesday to witness the first face-off between Mayor Rick Kriseman and former mayor Rick Baker in what is a watershed mayoral contest in the city's history.

    Former Mayor Rick Baker, left, is challenging incumbent Mayor Rick Kriseman, right, to become St. Petersburg mayor.
  4. Wildlife officers look for answers in gopher tortoise deaths while reward money piles up

    Wildlife

    The blood had already pooled when the bodies were found, bashed and beaten. One was dead. The other was still gasping, but it was too late.

    A gopher tortoise emerges from a bush to feed on vegetation on Thursday in 2016 at the Moccasin Lake Environmental Education Center in Clearwater. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission is investigating the deaths of two tortoises that were beaten and their shells broken in Manatee County. [DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD  |  Times]