Coast Guard repatriates 19 Dominicans, 1 Cuban to Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic

7th Coast Guard District NewsSAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – The Coast Guard Cutter Farallon repatriated 19 Dominicans and one Cuban to Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic Friday, following an at-sea interdiction Thursday just off of Aguadilla, Puerto Rico.

Caribbean Border Interagency Group law enforcement agents detained six other Dominican men to face judicial proceedings ashore.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Puerto Rico agreed to file charges and prosecute three of the Dominicans for illegal entry and three others for illegal reentry into a United States Territory.

Coast Guard Sector San Juan Watchstanders received a report from a Customs and Border Protection agent Thursday morning, who notified that the crew Customs and Border Protection dash-8 aircraft had located a migrant vessel, approximately seven nautical miles off the coast of Aguadilla, Puerto Rico.

Coast Guard Watchstanders diverted the Coast Guard Cutter Farallon to interdict the migrant vessel, while Customs and Border Protection and Puerto Rico Police Joint Force of Rapid Action marine units also responded. The crew of a Customs and Border Protection marine unit arrived on scene and interdicted the migrant vessel with 26 people onboard, 23 men and three women. The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Farallon arrived on scene shortly thereafter and embarked the migrants, while a Coast Guard Air Station Borinquen HH-65 Dolphin helicopter flew rescue support overhead.

“This interdiction should serve as an eye opener to smugglers and migrants who choose to illegally enter our nation’s maritime border,” said Cmdr. James P. Sutton, Sector San Juan chief of response. “Not only do they risk their lives attempting the dangerous journey across the Mona Passage, but they will most likely be caught by Caribbean Border Interagency Group authorities and prosecuted on illegal immigration charges.’

The crew of the Farallon collected and processed the migrant’s biographical information, 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 Farallon rendezvoused with CBP Border Patrol agents in Añasco, Puerto Rico Thursday, who interviewed the migrants aboard the Farallon and took the six Dominicans into custody that are to face judicial proceedings ashore.

The crew of the Farallon repatriated the remaining 20 migrants at approximately 9:45 a.m. Friday to Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic as they turned custody of the migrants to awaiting Dominican Republic Naval authorities ashore.

Coast Guard Cutter Farallon 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,, 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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