The Cuban detainees who surrendered peacefully after holding hostages at a jail for nearly a week will be sent back to Cuba, the State Department said today.
Five Cubans and one Bahamian gave up late Saturday at the St. Martin Parish jail, freeing the warden, a female guard and five female inmates. The standoff began Dec. 13 by inmates who demanded to be released from the jail and sent to another country.
"We're gratified that the situation has been resolved in a peaceful manner," the State Department said in a statement. "The detainees turned themselves in without harming hostages and in accordance with their request, we contacted the government of Cuba, which has agreed to take these individuals back."
Havana, which considers repatriation on a case-by-case basis as part of a 1984 agreement to deal with the 2,700 criminals who arrived in the United States as part of the 1980 Mariel boat lift, agreed to move the five Cubans to the top of the list.
In custody waiting for the paperwork are Lazaro Elisante Orta, convicted of murder; Roberto Villar Grana, convicted of attempted murder; Jonne Ponte, convicted of burglary and assault; Juan Miranda Salot, convicted of rape and other crimes, and Jorge Ramirez Acosta, convicted of burglary and marijuana possession. The sixth inmate, convicted killer Anthony DeVeaux, is to be returned to his native Bahamas.
Earlier today, Warden Todd Louvierre said he wasn't seriously hurt during the ordeal but never doubted his captors' threats of violence.