Coast Guard responds to Haitian migrant landings on Desecheo and Monito Islands

Southeastern Coast Guard News
SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — U.S. Coast Guard and U.S. Customs and Border Protection crews responded jointly to the landing of 71 Haitian migrants on Desecheo and Monito Islands, near Puerto Rico, Friday.

At approximately 6:00 a.m. Friday, two migrants were spotted by the crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Cushing on Monito Island, Puerto Rico. Through a coordinated effort of marine and air assets, the Cushing crew were able to safely detain and remove the migrants from the island prior to transferring custody to U.S. Border Patrol agents through Puerto Rico’s Joint Forces of Rapid Action (FURA) police teams.

Within hours of the initial sighting, a good Samaritan reported a large number of additional migrants on Desecheo Island, Puerto Rico. Coast Guard, Caribbean Air Marine Branch (CAMB), Border Patrol, and FURA all launched assets to assist with the effort. CAMB’s Black Hawk Helicopter crew and a Coast Guard helicopter crew worked together into the evening hours to safely remove all 69 Haitian migrants from the island. Land-based law enforcement agents from Border Patrol, Coast Guard, and FURA also assisted with the detention, transfer, and processing of the migrants.

Once aboard the Coast Guard Cutter, all migrants received food, water, shelter and basic medical attention.

This case marks another successful law enforcement operation by partner agencies in the Caribbean Border Interagency Group (CBIG), whose assets have seen a recent rise in the number of migrant cases off the west coast of Puerto Rico. The group was formally created to unify the efforts of the U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Customs and Border Protection , Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the Office of Border Patrol – Ramey Sector, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Puerto Rico, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of the Virgin Islands, 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 Cutter Cushing is a 110-foot patrol boat home ported in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

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