CBIG partners detain 12 Dominicans interdicted at sea

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – Caribbean Border Interagency Group law enforcement authorities detained 12 Dominican migrants Tuesday, following an at-sea interdiction Monday.

Criminal Division Chief José Ruiz Santiago and Assistant U.S. Attorney Evelyn Canals from the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Puerto Rico accepted to prosecute the Dominicans for attempting to enter illegally into the United States or a U.S. Territory.

The crew of a U.S. Customs and Border Protection DASH-8 aircraft located the migrants Monday night traveling illegally from the Dominican Republic to Puerto Rico aboard a grossly overloaded 25-foot wooden yola (boat).

The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Matinicus on patrol in the Mona Passage diverted and interdicted the migrant vessel. They Matinicus’ crew safely embarked the 11 men and one woman from the yola and collected the migrants biographic information, including digital fingerprints and facial photographs.

The Matinicus later rendezvoused with awaiting Border Patrol agents in Añasco, Puerto Rico, who conducted migrant interviews onboard the Matinicus and took custody of the Dominicans Tuesday afternoon.

Coast Guard Cutter Matinicus is a 110-foot patrol boat 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’s Office of Air & Marine (A&M), Office of Field Operations (OFO), and Office of Border Patrol (OBP), 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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