SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — The Coast Guard Cutter Joseph Napier repatriated 26 Dominicans to La Romana, Dominican Republic Sunday, after a group of 36 migrants was interdicted in the Mona Passage traveling illegally to Puerto Rico Friday.
The remaining 10 migrants were brought into Puerto Rico for further processing and potential criminal indictment by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Puerto Rico on charges of attempted illegal entry and re-entry into the United States.
“The close coordination between U.S. law enforcement and the Dominican Republic Navy led to the successful interdiction and safe recovery of all the migrants from a grossly overloaded and unseaworthy vessel with no lifesaving equipment onboard,” said Lt. Cmdr. Christopher Douglas, Sector San Juan chief of law enforcement.
The illegal migrant voyage consisted of a 30-foot wooden-makeshift-vessel that was detected by the crew of a U.S. Customs and Border Protection Air and Marine Operations DHC-8 maritime patrol aircraft on a routine patrol Friday afternoon, approximately 50 nautical miles northeast of Miches, Dominican Republic.
Watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector San Juan diverted the Coast Guard Cutter Charles Sexton to carry out the interdiction, and launched an HC-144 Ocean Sentry aircraft and a MH-65 Dolphin helicopter to provide aerial and rescue support. The Charles Sexton arrived on scene and interdicted the migrant boat with 29 men and seven women onboard. The crew of the Charles Sexton supplied the migrants with life jackets and brought them onboard, where they were provided with food, water, and shelter.
The Charles Sexton later rendezvoused and transferred custody of the migrants to the Coast Guard Cutter Joseph Napier to complete the final disposition of the migrants. The Joseph Napier rendezvoused with a Puerto Rico Police marine unit Sunday morning and transferred the ten migrants to awaiting Ramey Sector Border Patrol Agents in Mayaguez, Puerto Rico.
The remaining migrants were transported by the Joseph Napier to Dominican Republic waters Sunday afternoon, where they were repatriated to a Dominican Navy patrol vessel just off La Romana.
The Coast Guard Cutter Charles Sexton is a 154-foot Fast Response Cutter homeported in Key West Fla.
The Coast Guard Joseph Napier is a 154-foot Fast Response Cutter homeported in San Juan, Puerto Rico.