Authorities detain 20 Venezuelans, 1 Colombian off Curacao
WILLEMSTAD, Curacao (AP) — A group of migrants from Venezuela has been detained off the coast of the Dutch Caribbean island of Curacao, authorities say.
Dutch Caribbean Coast Guard spokesman Roderick Gouverneur said all 21 migrants remained in custody Monday.
The boat carrying the migrants was detected around midnight Friday about 6 miles (10 kilometers) south of the island in the southern Caribbean Sea, the Coast Guard said in a statement. Authorities found 20 people from Venezuela and one Colombian on board.
Authorities confiscated contraband that included cigarettes and ammunition and detained all on board on suspicion of attempting to illegally enter Curacao, the statement said.
An increasing number of people have been seeking to leave Venezuela amid the collapse of the oil-based economy in the South American nation 40 miles (65 kilometers) to the north of Curacao.
Venezuelan opposition leaders said months ago they believed people could begin leaving the country for nearby islands.