39 Dominicans Repatriated

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Key Largo repatriated 39 Dominican migrants to La Romana, Dominican Republic, at approximately 2:45 p.m.yesterday, following an at-sea interdiction of the migrants on Monday.

One migrant displaying symptoms of a possible heart attack was medically evacuated yesterday to the Mayaguez pier. The migrant was transferred in stable condition to Emergency Medical Services personnel and U.S. Border Patrol agents waiting pierside. An ambulance subsequently transported the migrant to the Mayaguez Centro Medico Hospital for further medical care.

Another migrant was identified through the use of biometrics, digital fingerprints and photographs as having been previously deported and convicted on drug related charges. That migrant is being detained for further processing by the U.S. Border Patrol in anticipation of filing of charges by the U.S. Attorney’s Office. The 41 migrants were initially located at 10:20 a.m. Monday, by the crew of a Customs and Border Protection DHC-8 aircraft, approximately 50 nautical miles northwest of Aguadilla, Puerto Rico. The migrants were traveling illegally to Puerto Rico aboard a 30-foot yola with one 40-horsepower outboard engine.

Coast Guard cutter Key Largo was dispatched and interdicted the yola at 3:30 p.m. Monday. The crew of the Key Largo safely transferred the migrants to the cutter while a U.S. Coast Guard HH-65 Dolphin helicopter from Air Station Borinquen flew rescue support overhead. The 30-foot yola was destroyed as a hazard to navigation by the crew of the Key Largo.

The biometric capability employed in this case provides the Coast Guard with an important tool to definitively establish the identity of those interdicted at sea who may attempt to enter or re-enter the United States illegally, or who may pose a threat to national security.

Collecting biometric identification supports the U.S. Government’s efforts to target human smugglers and protect migrants put at risk attempting to enter the United States illegally from the sea.

Coast Guard Cutter Key Largo is a 110-foot patrol boat homeported in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

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