Coast Guard repatriates 8 migrants to the Dominican Republic

The Coast Guard Cutter Joseph Tezanos

Coast Guard Cutter Joseph Tezanos file photo

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — The Coast Guard repatriated eight Dominicans Wednesday to the Dominican Republic following the interdiction of a makeshift boat by Caribbean Border Interagency Group law enforcement authorities just off the coast of Rincon, Puerto Rico.

Six of the interdicted migrants, four Dominican men, a Dominican woman and a Haitian man, are facing potential federal criminal immigration charges for attempted illegal entry into the U.S. One other Dominican man is also facing prosecution after he was identified having an active warrant for his arrest from the state of New York.

“Safety of life at sea and the security of our maritime border are our primary concerns,” said Lt. Cmdr. Mario Gil, U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Joseph Tezanos commanding officer. “We discourage anyone from taking to the sea in these overcrowded and unseaworthy vessels. They are risking their lives with very little chance of success.”

During a routine patrol in the Mona Passage Monday morning, the crew of a Puerto Rico Police Joint Forces of Rapid Action marine unit detected and initiated the pursuit of the 24-foot migrant boat. Coast Guard Sector San Juan watchstanders diverted the Joseph Tezanos crew to interdict the vessel and launched a MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crew from Coast Guard Air Station Borinquen to provide interdiction and rescue support overhead. As the Joseph Tezanos arrived on scene, the crew of the Puerto Rico Police marine unit stopped the migrant vessel. The crew of the Tezanos safely embarked all 21 migrants, including a Haitian man, two Ecuadorian men and a woman, and 13 Dominican men and four women.

Once aboard a Coast Guard cutter, all migrants receive food, water, shelter and basic medical attention.

Ramey Sector Border Patrol Agents in Mayaguez, Puerto Rico took custody of the migrants facing prosecution and the six others who needed to undergo further immigration processing.

The crew of the Tezanos transported the remaining migrants to the Dominican Republic, where the crew of a Dominican Republic Navy patrol boat received custody of the migrants in waters just off Punta Cana.

The Joseph Tezanos is 154-foot fast response cutter homeported in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

The Caribbean Border Interagency Group 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 (FURA, for its Spanish acronym), in their common goal of securing the borders of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands against illegal migrant and drug smuggling.

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