Man sentenced in fatal migrant smuggling trip from Bahamas

Naaman Davis, 53, sentenced to 14 years in prison


MIAMI – A man who pleaded guilty in a human smuggling trip from the Bahamas to South Florida that left four people dead last year has been sentenced to 14 years in prison.

In May, Naaman Davis, 53, pleaded guilty in federal court to one count of encouraging and inducing aliens to enter the U.S. resulting in death and one count of aiding and assisting an aggravated felon to enter the U.S.

Davis was steering the smuggling boat from Bimini to South Florida on Oct. 15, 2013, when it began to take on water and capsized.

Federal prosecutors said he drank some rum before leaving the Bahamas and smoked crack cocaine during one of the several times the boat stalled.

Davis and another man jumped overboard before the boat capsized.

Five of 13 migrants on board got trapped underneath the capsized vessel. Four of them, all women, died.

"It's a loss we weren't expecting," said Jean Marie Fortin Holrich, who lives in North Miami and whose family member, Kerline Mercy, died on the trip. "Imagine losing a member of one's family in the most unexpected way -- a young person with all of her future in front of her."

"To this day, I can't go to work," said Simelia Chrius Escarlant, who lost her sister in the voyage. "I cry every day. The whole year and even to church, I can't go because it hurts me so much."

Four other men have also pleaded guilty to their role in the incident.

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