SANTIAGO – The Chilean government expelled on Thursday 69 Bolivians and eight Peruvians who were serving time in local jails, mostly for drug trafficking, officials said.
Two buses carrying 26 prisoners left Santiago for the northern part of the country, while the remaining foreign inmates will be sent to the towns of Illapel and Antofagasta.
Another bus will take the prisoners from the city of Iquique to their respective countries, where Chilean police will hand them over, the Interior Ministry said.
Most of the prisoners expelled from Chile are serving time for drug trafficking, though one Bolivian was convicted of raping a 12-year-old girl in 2013.
This is the fourth operation of this type carried out since conservative Sebastian Piñera became president in March.
“When it comes to immigration, our policy is clear: We welcome those who respect our laws and come to start a better life, having something to offer and do not let in or expel those who come illegally, have criminal records or commit crimes in our country,” Piñera wrote Thursday on Twitter.
Since the beginning of 2018, authorities have deported 1,187 foreigners who committed felonies or entered Chile illegally.
Last week, the government deported 51 Colombians who committed crimes and had served time both in Chile and their homeland.