Coast Guard repatriates 9 Dominicans to La Romana, Dominican Republic

Coast Guard District 7 NewsSAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – The Coast Guard Cutter Sapelo repatriated nine Dominicans to La Romana, Dominican Republic Wednesday, following multiple at-sea migrant interdictions Tuesday by Caribbean Border Interagency Group law enforcement authorities off Desecheo Island, Puerto Rico.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Puerto Rico agreed to prosecute seven other Dominicans detained during both interdictions, six are to face charges for illegal entry, and one will face charges for illegal reentry into a United States Territory.

Tuesday night’s interdiction:
The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Sapelo sighted a migrant vessel at approximately 9:20p.m. Tuesday night transiting illegally to Puerto Rico, approximately six nautical miles north of Desecheo Island, Puerto Rico.

The crew of the Sapelo interdicted the vessel, embarked the five men onboard and destroyed the migrant vessel as a hazard to navigation.

Tuesday morning’s interdiction:
Coast Guard Sector San Juan watchstanders received a report from a Puerto Rico Police Joint Forces of Rapid Action (FURA) agent Tuesday morning, who notified that the crew of a FURA fixed-wing had located a migrant vessel, approximately two nautical miles northwest of Desecheo Island, Puerto Rico.

Coast Guard watchstanders diverted the Coast Guard Cutter Key Largo to interdict the migrant vessel, while a FURA marine unit, with a Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Border Patrol Agent agent onboard, and a CBP marine unit also responded. The crew of the FURA marine unit arrived on scene and interdicted the migrant vessel and embarked the 11 people onboard, 10 men and one woman, due to the unstable conditions of the migrant vessel. The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Key Largo arrived on scene shortly thereafter and embarked the migrants from the FURA marine unit, and destroyed the migrant vessel as a hazard to navigation

Biometrics processing and case disposition:
The crew of the Sapelo and Key Largo collected and processed the migrant’s biographical information from both interdictions, including taking their digital fingerprints and facial photographs, to determine if they had any criminal or illegal immigration history in the United States or a U.S. Territory.

The Sapelo and Key Largo rendezvoused with CBP Border Patrol agents in Añasco, Puerto Rico Wednesday, where CBP Border Patrol agents took custody of the seven Dominicans that would face judicial proceedings ashore, and the Sapelo embarked the seven remaining migrants from the Key Largo.

The crew of the Sapelo repatriated the remaining nine migrants at approximately 8p.m. Wednesday to La Romana, Dominican Republic as they turned custody of the migrants to awaiting Dominican Republic Naval authorities ashore.

Coast Guard Cutter’s Sapelo and Key Largo are 110-foot patrol boats home ported in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

The concept of CBIG resulted from a March 2006 collaboration of local Homeland Security components that effectively stemmed the increased flow of traffic across the Mona Passage between the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico. In July 2006, CBIG was formally created to unify efforts of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection,, the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG), Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) the United States Attorney‘s Office, District of Puerto Rico, and Puerto Rico Police Joint Forces of Rapid action (FURA) in their common goal of securing Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands against illegal maritime traffic and gaining control of our nation’s Caribbean borders.

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