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Three Colombian migrants heading to US end up in Gibraltar by mistake

Photo by Johnny Bugeja.

Three Colombian men who boarded a ship in Panama to head towards the US for a better life were arrested after being rescued at sea off Gibraltar.

The trio were arrested on suspicion of being non-Gibraltarians in Gibraltar without a valid permit after being rescued by Customs officers who found them holding on to the ropes of a bunker barge.

Jorge Uriel Garica Lopez, 36, Nelson Rafel Gamboa Lopez, 22, and Luis Felipe Gamboa Lopez, 28, pleaded guilty to the offence before the Magistrates' Court on Wednesday.

The court heard that, after their rescue, the men were taken to St Bernard’s Hospital and treated for hypothermia before being taken to New Mole House for questioning.

Their lawyer, Kevin Colombo, told the court that the men were in Panama and got on a ship to head towards America for a “better life,” but ended up in Gibraltar “by mistake.”

The men were given a conditional discharge for 12 months and were served with a detention and removal order by Stipendiary Magistrate Charles Pitto.

They will be detained in Windmill Hill until August 25 when they will be brought back before the court if they are not repatriated to Colombia before then.

James Lennane appeared for the Crown.


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