SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — The Coast Guard Cutter Richard Dixon and Caribbean Border Interagency Group CBIG authorities interdicted a migrant vessel in international waters Friday northeast of Samana, Dominican Republic, as it was traveling illegally to Puerto Rico with one Brazilian and 11 Dominican men onboard.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Puerto Rico filed criminal charges against the Brazilian and five of the Dominicans for attempted illegal re-entry into the United States, while one other Dominican was charged for attempting to enter the U.S without inspection.
Watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector San Juan received notification from a Customs and Border Protection Office of Air and Marine maritime patrol aircraft upon detecting a 15-foot blue and wooden boat traveling from the Dominican Republic to Puerto Rico.
Coast Guard watchstanders diverted the Richard Dixon to interdict the suspect migrant boat and alerted the Dominican Republic Navy of the developing situation. The Richard Dixon arrived on scene and observed multiple packages being jettisoned from the migrant boat into the water. The Richard Dixon embarked the migrants and recovered two jettisoned packages that later tested positive for marijuana. They also conducted biometric processing on the migrants to determine if any had a previous criminal or illegal immigration history in the U.S. or a U.S. Territory.
Two Dominican Republic Navy’s vessels, including the patrol boat Proción, arrived on scene with the Richard Dixon and embarked the five other Dominicans traveling with the group and received custody of the two seized packages containing approximately 11 pounds of marijuana.
The remaining six Dominicans and Brazilian migrants were transported to Mayaguez, Puerto Rico, where they were taken into custody by Ramey Sector Border Patrol Agents for processing and prosecution.
CBIG was formally created to unify efforts of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Puerto Rico, and Puerto Rico Police Joint Forces of Rapid Action, in their common goal of securing the borders of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands against illegal migrant and drug smuggling.