(CMR) The owner of a boat carrying 41 Venezuelans that capsized three weeks ago is expected to be charged after it was revealed that the boat only had capacity for eight people.
Investigators also found that the boat had no life jackets or navigation equipment.
Twenty-eight bodies have so far been recovered after the boat transporting migrants from Venezuela to Trinidad and Tobago capsized off the coast of Guiria on December 6.
The Venezuelan Government has since said the the trip involved a human trafficking/smuggling ring, and that each of the 41 people had paid $US 150 for the trip.
The owner of the boat and the owner of the farm from where passengers left were both arrested. Ten others were also being sought by the authorities. Luis Ali Martinez (56), the owner of the vessel, will be charged with alleged human trafficking on the Venezuelan coast.
Following the incident, Trinidad and Tobago was accused of being responsible for the demise because it had intercepted the boat. However, investigations revealed the boat did not get to Trinidad and Tobago.
Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago Keith Rowley has since warned that the country would tighten anti-trafficking laws, and Venezuelans involved in the trafficking problem will be among the first to be sent back to their country.
Thousands of Venezuelan migrants have fled the country as a result of political and economical crises since 2018.
The United Nations has been calling for greater assistance for the more than 4.6 million Venezuelan refugees and migrants fleeing economic hardship and persecution after reports of widespread exploitation.