Coast Guard Repatriates 29 Dominicans, Detains 7

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Matinicus repatriated 29 Dominican migrants Tuesday to La Romana, Dominican Republic, while another seven Dominican migrants where detained for prosecution by the crew of Coast Guard Cutter Cushing following three at-sea interdictions Monday and Sunday.

The cases were accepted for prosecution by the United States Attorney’s Office in Puerto Rico.

Coast Guard law enforcement personnel detained seven migrants identified through the use of biometrics, digital fingerprints and photographs, one of them, as having been previously deported, and attempting to illegally re-enter U.S. territory. The remaining six migrants were identified for attempting to enter illegally on multiple occasions into U.S. territory.

Monday’s interdictions:

The crew of a U.S. Customs and Border Protection fixed-wing aircraft and marine unit located and interdicted a migrant yola traveling illegally to Puerto Rico Monday, approximately six nautical miles west of Cabo Rojo, Puerto Rico. The Coast Guard Cutter Cushing was diverted, and once on scene with the migrant vessel, embarked all 17 male Dominican migrants.

The crew of a U.S. Customs and Border Protection fixed-wing aircraft located a second migrant yola Monday traveling illegally to Puerto Rico. The Cushing was diverted, interdicted the migrant vessel and embarked four male and one female Dominican migrants, approximately 19 nautical miles south of Mona Island, Puerto Rico.

The crew of the Cushing detained and turned custody of three of the migrants, from the initial group of 17, to U.S. Border Patrol agents in Mayaguez Monday, for further processing in anticipation of filing of charges by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Puerto Rico.

Sunday’s interdiction:

The crew of an HU-25 Falcon Jet located a 15-foot rigid hull inflatable boat Sunday carrying 13 male and one female Dominican migrants traveling illegally to Puerto Rico. The Cushing arrived on scene and interdicted the migrants, approximately 12 nautical miles south of Mona Island, Puerto Rico.

The crew of the Cushing detained and turned over custody of four migrants to U.S. Border Patrol agents in Mayaguez Sunday, for further processing in anticipation of filing of charges by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Puerto Rico.

The Cushing rendezvoused with the Matinicus Tuesday and transferred custody of the migrants remaining on board from Monday’s and Sunday’s interdictions. The Matinicus completed the repatriation and transfer of all 29 migrants to Dominican Republic Navy authorities in La Romana, Dominican Republic, at approximately 9:10 p.m. Tuesday.

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 Cushing and Matinicus are 110-foot patrol boats homeported in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

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