Coast Guard returns 21 migrants to the Dominican Republic

Coast Guard Cutter Heriberto Hernandez File Photo

Coast Guard Cutter Heriberto Hernandez File Photo

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — The Coast Guard returned 21 migrants Friday to Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, following an at-sea interdiction of a migrant vessel off the coast of Aguadilla, Puerto Rico.

Eight other migrants interdicted in the group are facing potential federal criminal immigration charges in the U.S. District Court of Puerto Rico.

The migrants were interdicted Sunday night by responding Caribbean Border Interagency Group partner law enforcement agencies, after a U.S. Customs and Border Protection maritime patrol aircraft detected the migrants traveling aboard a 30-foot boat off the coast of Aguadilla, Puerto Rico.

The migrant vessel was stopped by a Puerto Rico Police Joint Forces of Rapid Action marine unit as the Coast Guard Cutter Heriberto Hernandez arrived on scene. The crew of the Heriberto Hernandez provided lifejackets and embarked all passengers from the migrant vessel. Once onboard the cutter, the migrants received food, water, shelter and basic medical attention.

The eight migrants facing federal prosecution were transferred to the custody of Customs and Border Protection Ramey Sector Border Patrol agents in Aguadilla, while a pregnant female migrant was also medevacked to a local hospital to receive needed medical care.

The Coast Guard Cutter Heriberto Hernandez is a 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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