Coast Guard Repatriates 40 to Dominican Republic

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – The crew of Coast Guard Cutter Matinicus repatriated 32 Dominicans, seven Ecuadorians and one Haitian migrant to La Romana Dominican Republic Wednesday, following an at-sea interdiction Tuesday.

Coast Guard law enforcement personnel detained two Dominicans, of the 42 migrants aboard the interdicted yola, for attempting to enter illegally into the United States or a U.S. Territory on four different occasions. The United States Attorney’s Office in Puerto Rico accepted both illegal migrant cases for prosecution.

The crew of a U.S. Customs and Border Protection fixed-wing aircraft located a migrant yola Tuesday morning while conducting a law enforcement patrol, approximately 10 nautical miles southwest of Desecheo Island, Puerto Rico. The 30 men and 12 women where traveling illegally to Puerto Rico aboard a 25-foot-blue wooden yola when their yola became disabled and adrift.

Coast Guard Sector San Juan Controllers diverted Coast Guard Cutter Cushing to the scene to interdict the migrant yola. The Cushing arrived on scene and the crew embarked the migrants, collected their biometric information and destroyed the yola as a hazard to navigation. Afterwards, the Coast Guard Cutter Matinicus rendezvoused with the Cushing and embarked the migrants to conduct their repatriation.

The crew of the Matinicus turned custody of the two detained migrants to U.S. Border Patrol agents in Mayaguez, Puerto Rico Tuesday evening. The Matinicus arrived to La Romana, Dominican Republic Wednesday evening, where the crew transferred custody of the remaining 40 migrants to awaiting Dominican Republic navy authorities.

The biometric capability employed in this case provides the Coast Guard with an important tool to definitively establish the identity of those interdicted at sea who may attempt to enter or re-enter the United States illegally, or who may pose a threat to national security.

Collecting biometric identification supports the U.S. Government’s efforts to target human smugglers and protect migrants put at risk attempting to enter the United States illegally from the sea.

Coast Guard Cutter’s Cushing and Matinicus are 110-foot patrol boats home ported in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

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