AKWESASNE, N.Y. (AP) — Federal authorities say a boat operator knew his passengers could not swim when he abandoned six Indian nationals on a sinking boat during a failed smuggling attempt across the frigid Saint Regis River into northern New York.
U.S. citizen Brian Lazore was ordered held without bail last week on smuggling charges. His defense attorney, Gabrielle DiBella, told The Associated Press that Lazore is “presumed to be innocent until proven guilty.” Authorities spotted the boat April 28 after it left a hotel in Cornwall, Ontario. Lazore and the six passengers were treated for hypothermia and then arrested.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials said this week that the sinking boat had no safety equipment of any kind on board, including life preservers. The six abandoned passengers are all between the ages of 19 and 21; they’re charged with improper entry.