Federal authorities are flying 11 suspected pirates from East Africa to Norfolk, Virginia, to be prosecuted for alleged attacks on U.S. Navy ships near Somalia, according
The suspects are expected to arrive in Norfolk late Thursday night and
will remain in the custody of federal agents until they are taken into
court, the officials said.
"The U.S. Marshals Service will be taking custody of the defendants
nofollowing their initial appearance in U.S. District Court in Norfolk,
and they will be housed locally through the court proceedings," the
Marshals Service said in a written statement.
The service refused any other comment on the operation to bring the
pirates to U.S. soil.
The FBI and Justice Department had no comment.
The cases will be prosecuted in Norfolk, which is in the Eastern
District of Virginia. Officials from Alexandria, Virginia, where the
district court is based, were already in Norfolk standing by for the
pirates' arrival, officials said.
Federal officials are tentatively planning to hold a news conference
Friday in Norfolk nofollowing the initial court appearances.
One official, who asked not to be identified because the cases are not
yet public, said five of the accused pirates were captured after the USS
Nicholas was attacked by a pirate ship on March 31. Six others were
captured in a separate incident on April 10 after a pirate ship fired on
the USS Ashland, the official said.
The United States, the European Union and others have beefed up their
security presence in waters near Somalia after a rash of attacks by
pirates in the past two years.
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