Coast Guard Repatriates 17 Dominicans, Detains Two Migrants

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Matinicus repatriated 17 Dominicans in the last 72 hours to La Romana, Dominican Republic, and they detained two others for prosecution following two at-sea interdictions Saturday and Monday.

Coast Guard law enforcement personnel detained two of the migrants who were interdicted Saturday, one of the migrants is considered to be a felony reentrant previously removed formally from the United States after pleading guilty to attempted homicide and serving a three year and seven month prison term. The second migrant was detained for having attempted to enter illegally into the United States or a U.S. territory on three previous occasions.

Monday’s Interdiction

The crew of cutter Matinicus interdicted a migrant yola at 1:30 a.m. Monday as it was transiting illegally to Puerto Rico, approximately 2.2 nautical miles northwest of Mona Island, Puerto Rico. The crew of the Matinicus safely embarked eight males and one female after their yola began taking on water, and they turned custody of the migrants to Dominican Republic navy authorities in La Romana at approximately at 5:30 p.m. Monday.

Saturday’s Interdiction

The crew of a Coast Guard HU-25 Falcon Jet from Air Station Cape Cod, Mass. located a migrant yola at approximately 12:30 p.m. Saturday during a law enforcement patrol, approximately 23 nautical miles northeast of Cabo EngaƱo, Dominican Republic.

Coast Guard controllers diverted Coast Guard Cutter Matinicus to interdict the migrant yola carrying eight male and two female Dominican migrants who were traveling illegally to Puerto Rico.

The crew of the Matinicus arrived on scene, interdicted the yola and safely embarked the migrants, while a HH-65 Dolphin helicopter from Air Station Borinquen, Aguadilla, flew rescue support overhead. The crew of the Matinicus destroyed the migrant yola as a hazard to navigation, and turned custody of two detained migrants to U.S. Border Patrol agents in Mayaguez. The Matinicus proceeded to go underway to the Dominican Republic to repatriate the remaining eight migrants. The repatriation was completed at approximately 7 p.m. Saturday when custody of the migrants was transferred to Dominican Republic navy authorities in La Romana.

Since its inception in Nov. 2006, U.S. Coast Guard/US-VISIT Biometrics Proof of Concept, biometric data has been collected on 1,261 migrants during 46 at-sea interdictions in the Mona Passage. Thus far, 74 migrants have been brought ashore for filing of charges and prosecution by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Puerto Rico.

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 Matinicus is a 110-foot patrol boat home ported in San Juan.

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