Coast Guard repatriates 26 Dominicans to La Romana, Dominican Republic

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – The crew of Coast Guard Cutter Key Largo repatriated 26 Dominican migrants to La Romana, Dominican Republic Friday, following an at-sea interdiction by Caribbean Border Interagency Group (CBIG) Law Enforcement authorities Thursday.

The crew of the Key Largo detained eight other Dominicans, seven men and one woman, for attempting to enter illegally into the United States or a U.S. territory on at least two separate occasions. The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Puerto Rico accepted to prosecute their cases.

The crew of a U.S. Customs and Border Protection DASH-8 aircraft located a 20-foot wooden white and blue migrant vessel Thursday, while patrolling waters approximately eight nautical miles west of Mona Island, Puerto Rico.

The 34 Dominican migrants were traveling illegally to Puerto Rico from the Dominican Republic aboard a 20-foot white and blue grossly overloaded wooden yola.

The crew of the Key Largo interdicted the migrant vessel and safely embarked 26 men and eight women. Once onboard the cutter, the crew of the Key Largo collected the biographic information, including digital fingerprints and facial photographs from the interdicted migrants.

The Key Largo rendezvoused with awaiting Border Patrol agents in Mayaguez, Puerto Rico, where Border Patrol agents conducted migrant interviews onboard Key Largo and took custody of the eight detained migrants Friday.

The Key Largo repatriated the remaining 26 Dominicans Friday night, when they turned custody over to Dominican Republic Naval authorities in La Romana, Dominican Republic.

Coast Guard Cutter Key Largo 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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