Coast Guard Repatriates 25 Dominicans To La Romana, Detains 6 Migrants

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Cushing repatriated 25 Dominican migrants yesterday to La Romana, Dominican Republic, following an at-sea interdiction by the Puerto Rico Police Saturday.

Seven migrants were identified through the use of biometrics (digital fingerprints and photographs) as having a history of illegal immigration or criminal activity in the United States or a U.S. territory. Coast Guard law enforcement personnel detained three of the migrants who were attempting to illegally re-enter U.S. territory; two of them have a criminal history of being aggravated felons in the U.S. and one has been previously deported and formally removed from U.S. territory. Three other migrants were detained for attempting to enter illegally into U.S. territory.

The crew of cutter Cushing transferred custody of the six detained migrants to U.S. Border Patrol agents in Mayaguez yesterday, for further processing in anticipation of filing of charges by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Puerto Rico.

The crew of a Puerto Rico Police Joint Forces of Rapid Action F.U.R.A. marine unit located and interdicted the the 25-foot wooden yola Saturday morning during a law enforcement patrol, approximately one nautical mile west of Aguadilla, Puerto Rico. F.U.R.A marine units on scene also found four blocks of marijuana in the water near the yola.

Coast Guard controllers diverted Coast Guard Cutter Chincoteague to assist three F.U.R.A. marine units and a F.U.R.A. helicopter involved with the interdiction. The crew of the Chincoteague arrived on scene at approximately 6:38 a.m. Saturday, they safely embarked the migrants and collected their biometric information.

The Chincoteague then rendezvoused with cutter Cushing at approximately 11 a.m. Saturday and transferred the 25 male and six female migrants. The crew of Cushing transferred custody of the six detained migrants yesterday to Border Patrol Agents in Mayaguez, and then proceeded to go underway to La Romana to repatriate the 25 migrants who remained onboard. The repatriation was completed at approximately 3:30 p.m. yesterday 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/U.S. Visit Biometrics Proof of Concept, biometric data has been collected on 930 migrants during 37 at-sea interdictions in the Mona Passage. Thus far, 57 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 Chincoteague and Cushing are 110-foot patrol boats homeported in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

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