Coast Guard repatriates 16 Dominicans to La Romana, Dominican Republic

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – The crew of Coast Guard Cutter Ocracoke repatriated 16 Dominican migrants to La Romana, Dominican Republic Saturday, following an at-sea interdiction by Caribbean Border Interagency Group CBIG Law Enforcement authorities Thursday.

The crew of the Ocracoke detained six other Dominicans, five men and one woman, for attempting to enter illegally into the United States or a U.S. territory on at least two separate occasions. The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Puerto Rico accepted to prosecute their cases.

The crew of a U.S. Customs and Border Protection DASH-8 aircraft located a 25-foot wooden migrant vessel Thursday night, while patrolling waters approximately five nautical miles southwest of Mona Island, Puerto Rico.

The 22 Dominican migrants were traveling illegally to Puerto Rico from the Dominican Republic.

The crew of the Ocracoke interdicted the migrant vessel, approximately 20 nautical miles west of Mayaguez, Puerto Rico, and safely embarked 18 men and four women. Once onboard the cutter, the crew of the Ocracoke collected the biographic information, including digital fingerprints and facial photographs from the interdicted migrants.

The Ocracoke rendezvoused with awaiting Border Patrol agents in Mayaguez, Puerto Rico, where Border Patrol agents conducted migrant interviews onboard Ocracoke and took custody of the six detained migrants Friday afternoon.

The Ocracoke repatriated the remaining 16 Dominicans Saturday morning, when they turned custody over to Dominican Republic Naval authorities in La Romana, Dominican Republic.

Coast Guard Cutter Ocracoke is a 110-foot patrol boat home ported in Miami.

The concept of CBIG resulted from a March 2006 collaboration of local Homeland Security components that effectively stemmed the increased flow of traffic across the Mona Passage between the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico. In July 2006, CBIG was formally created to unify efforts of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s Office of Air & Marine A&M, Office of Field Operations OFO, and Office of Border Patrol OBP, the U.S. Coast Guard USCG, Immigration and Customs Enforcement ICE the United States Attorney ‘ s Office, District of Puerto Rico, and Puerto Rico Police Joint Forces of Rapid action FURA in their common goal of securing Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands against illegal maritime traffic and gaining control of our nation’s Caribbean borders.

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