Coast Guard repatriates 12 Dominicans to La Romana, Dominican Republic

USCG File Photo

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – The crew of Coast Guard Cutter Cushing repatriated 12 Dominican migrants to La Romana, Dominican Republic Friday, following an at-sea Coast Guard and Caribbean Border Interagency Group CBIG interdiction Thursday, approximately 18 nautical miles northwest of Aguadilla, Puerto Rico.

Five other Dominicans were taken into custody by Immigrations and Customs Enforcement agents to face judicial proceedings ashore for attempting to illegally reenter a U.S. territory.

The crew of a U.S. Customs and Border Protection Caribbean Air and Marine Branch dash-8 aircraft located a 22-foot fiberglass vessel Thursday, while patrolling Mona Passage waters off of Aguadilla. The migrants were traveling illegally to Puerto Rico aboard a stolen vessel from the Dominican Republic.

Coast Guard Watchstanders in Sector San Juan alerted and diverted the Cushing and a Coast Guard 33-foot Special Purpose Craft-Law Enforcement response boat to interdict the migrant vessel. The crew of the Cushing arrived on scene, interdicted the migrant vessel and safely embarked 15 Dominican men and two women Thursday morning. Cushing’s crew conducted background checks on the interdicted migrants by collecting and processing their biographical information, digital fingerprints and facial photographs.

The Cushing rendezvoused with Ramey Sector Border Patrol and Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents in Mayaguez, Puerto Rico Thursday, who conducted migrant interviews aboard the cutter and took five Dominican men into custody.

The crew of the Cushing repatriated the remaining 12 Dominicans at approximately 6:45 p.m. Friday to La Romana, Dominican Republic and they turned custody of the migrants to awaiting Dominican Republic Naval authorities ashore.

Coast Guard Cutter Cushing 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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