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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Southern District of Florida

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Bahamian Smuggler In Fatal Capsizing Sentenced To 14 Years In Prison

Wifredo A. Ferrer, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, Alysa D. Erichs, Special Agent in Charge, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations (ICE-HSI), Miami Field Office, and Rear Admiral John H. Korn, Commander, 7th Coast Guard District (USCG), announce that Naaman Davis, 54, of Bimini, Bahamas, was sentenced to 168 months in prison by U.S. District Judge Kathleen M. Williams. Davis had previously pled guilty to one count of migrant smuggling resulting in death and one count of bringing an aggravated felon into the United States.

According to court documents, Davis had been hired to drive a boat of migrants from the Bahamas to the United States on the evening of October 15, 2013. During the voyage from the Bahamas, Davis maintained a drug induced high by smoking crack-cocaine from a pipe which he had brought with him. At one point the vessel stalled, approximately seven miles off the coast of Miami, at which time the vessel began taking on water. Instead of assisting the others onboard the vessel with bailing the water, Davis continued to smoke, while everyone else bailed water. Eventually the vessel capsized, trapping four Haitian women underneath: Lodilla Escarment, Carmen Valeris, Kerline Mercy and Woodline Alexis. All four women ultimately died of drowning. Through counsel, Davis conceded that he had intended on using the money he was to be paid from this venture to buy more crack cocaine.

Five co-defendants in the instant case have previously been sentenced for their participation in these events:

George Lewis, 39, of the Bahamas, was sentenced to 60 months imprisonment;

Everton Jones, 51, of Jamaica, was sentenced to 40 months imprisonment;

Matthew Williams, 31, of Jamaica, was sentenced to 20 months imprisonment; and

Sean Gaynor, 28, of Jamaica, was sentenced to time served.

Mr. Ferrer commended the investigative efforts of ICE-HSI and USCG. This case was prosecuted by Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Kelly Blackburn and Assistant U.S. Attorney Jaime Raich.

A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the United States Attorney's Office for the Southern District of Florida at http://www.usdoj.gov/usao/fls. Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Southern District of Florida at http://www.flsd.uscourts.gov or on http://pacer.flsd.uscourts.gov.

Updated March 12, 2015