Coast Guard repatriates 21 Dominicans to La Romana, Dominican Republic

7th Coast Guard District News
SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – The crew of Coast Guard Cutter Sitkinak repatriated 21 of 27 Dominicans to La Romana, Dominican Republic Tuesday night, following an at-sea interdiction Tuesday morning by Caribbean Border Interagency Group CBIG authorities north of Quebradillas, Puerto Rico.

CBIG maritime crews seized six bricks of cocaine and detained five men and one woman belonging to the group of interdicted migrants 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 migrant boat transiting illegally to Puerto Rico Monday night.

The crew of a responding U.S. Customs and Border Protection marine unit interdicted the migrants, approximately nine nautical miles north of Quebradillas, and they recovered a backpack from the water that had been thrown from the migrant’s boat containing six bricks of cocaine.

The Sitkinak arrived on scene shortly thereafter and embarked 21 men and six women. Sitkinak’s crew collected and processed the migrants biographic information, including their digital fingerprints and facial photographs.

The Sitkinak rendezvoused with Ramey Sector Border Patrol agents in Mayaguez, Puerto Rico Tuesday afternoon, who conducted migrant interviews aboard the cutter and took custody of the six Dominicans and the seized contraband.

The crew of the Sitkinak repatriated the remaining 21 Dominicans at approximately 11:15 p.m. Tuesday to La Romana, Dominican Republic, where they turned custody of the migrants to Dominican Republic Naval authorities ashore.

Coast Guard Cutter Sitkinak is a 110-foot patrol boat home ported in Miami.

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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