20 migrants drown after fleeing Venezuela for Trinidad

Venezuelan officials say the bodies of at least 20 migrants who were traveling by boat from Venezuela to the nearby Caribbean nation of Trinidad and Tobago were found over the weekend

CARACAS, Venezuela -- The bodies of at least 20 migrants who were traveling by boat from Venezuela to the nearby Caribbean nation of Trinidad and Tobago were found over the weekend, officials said.

Eleven bodies were found Saturday at sea and other bodies were discovered Sunday on nearby beaches, according to a statement by Venezuela’s government. Officials did not say how many people in total were on the boat, but Jesús Villaroel, a Catholic priest, said a group of Venezuelans reported that two boats carrying 20 people each left last week and had disappeared.

The owner of the boat that was shipwrecked has been detained, according to Venezuelan Attorney General Tarek William Saab.

An increasing number of Venezuelan migrants are traveling to Trinidad and Tobago as they flee worsening conditions at home, with human rights organizations estimating that more than 40,000 have entered the country illegally. Last year, roughly 40 migrants disappeared following two shipwrecks.