Coast Guard Repatriates 47 Dominicans to La Romana, Dominican Republic

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – The crew of Coast Guard Cutter Ocracoke repatriated 47 Dominican migrants to La Romana, Dominican Republic Saturday, and detained eight others for prosecution following two at-sea interdictions by Department of Homeland Security and Puerto Rico law enforcement authorities Thursday and Friday.

Friday’s Interdiction:

A Puerto Rico Police Joint Forces of Rapid Action F.U.R.A. marine unit interdicted a 20-foot yola with 14 Dominican migrants onboard Friday in waters off Rincon, Puerto Rico.

Coast Guard Sector San Juan controllers diverted Coast Guard Cutter Ocracoke to assist at the scene. The crew of the Ocracoke embarked 13 Dominicans, 9 men and 4 women, while the crew of the F.U.R.A. marine unit proceeded to transfer a Dominican man with lacerations in his hand to receive medical care ashore. The migrant was transferred to “El Buen Samaritano” Hospital under the custody of Border Patrol agents.

The Ocracoke’s crew collected the biographic information, digital fingerprints and facial photograph, from the interdicted migrants, and they detained three Dominicans for attempting to enter illegally into the United States or a U.S. Territory on at least two occasions. The United States Attorney’s Office in Puerto Rico accepted to prosecute their cases.

Thursday’s Interdiction:

The crew of a U.S. Customs and Border Protection Caribbean Air & Marine Branch fixed-wing aircraft located a migrant yola Thursday morning while patrolling Mona Passage waters, southwest of Mona Island, Puerto Rico.

Coast Guard Sector San Juan controllers diverted Coast Guard Cutter Ocracoke to the scene. The Ocracoke interdicted the 30-foot grossly overloaded yola Thursday afternoon, and they embarked 35 men and 7 women of Dominican Republic nationality, who requested to be taken off the yola as their boat was riding low in the water. The crew of an Air Station Borinquen HH-65 Dolphin helicopter flew rescue support at the scene, while the migrants disembarked the yola and boarded the Ocracoke.

The Ocracoke’s crew collected the biographic information, digital fingerprints and facial photograph, from the interdicted migrants, and they detained five Dominicans for attempting to enter illegally into the United States or a U.S. Territory on at least two occasions. The United States Attorney’s Office in Puerto Rico accepted to prosecute their cases.

Transfer of Custody and Repatriation:

U.S. Border Patrol agents went aboard the Ocracoke Friday and conducted migrant interviews and performed background checks on the interdicted migrants biographic information.

The crew of the Ocracoke turned custody of all eight detained Dominican migrants from both interdictions to Border Patrol agents in Añasco, Puerto Rico Friday.

The crew of the Ocracoke repatriated the remaining 47 Dominican migrants Saturday morning when they transferred their custody over to Dominican Republic navy authorities in La Romana, Dominican Republic.

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.

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