Coast Guard repatriates 8 Dominican migrants to Cap Cana, Dominican Republic

Southeastern Coast Guard News
SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Sapelo repatriated 8 Dominican migrants to Cap Cana, Dominican Republic Tuesday following an at-sea interdiction Monday, approximately 15 nautical miles south of Mona Island, Puerto Rico.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Puerto Rico will be filing charges against two of the Dominicans in the group for attempting to re-enter illegally into the United States or a U.S. Territory after a previous deportation.

The crew of a patrolling HC-144 Ocean Sentry Aircraft from Coast Guard Air Station Miami, detected the migrants in the Mona Passage transiting towards Puerto Rico aboard a makeshift boat.

Watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector San Juan, alerted of the developing situation, diverted the Coast Guard Cutter Sapelo to interdict the migrant vessel.

The Sapelo arrived on scene, interdicted the migrant vessel and embarked all 10 men safely onboard, and provided them with food, water and shelter.  The crew of the Sapelo also processed the migrants to determine if any had a previous criminal or illegal immigration history in the United States or a U.S. Territory, and destroyed the migrant vessel as a hazard to navigation.

The Sapelo later rendezvoused with Customs and Border Protection Ramey Sector Border Patrol agents in Mayaguez, Puerto Rico, where the two Dominican migrants were taken into custody for criminal prosecution.

The Coast Guard Cutter Sapelo repatriated the remaining eight migrants Tuesday upon transferring their custody to Dominican Republic naval authorities in Cap Cana, Dominican Republic.

The Coast Guard Cutter Sapelo is a 110-foot patrol boat, homeported in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

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.

The Coast Guard’s efforts under Operation Unified Resolve contribute to the interagency results being achieved each and every day locally under Operation Caribbean Guard, which coordinates efforts between the Coast Guard, its DHS, Commonwealth and Territorial law enforcement partners, who are working diligently to deter, detect and disrupt illicit maritime trafficking to Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

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