Coast Guard repatriates 41 Dominicans to La Romana, Dominican Republic

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – The crew of Coast Guard Cutter Sapelo repatriated 41 Dominican migrants to La Romana, Dominican Republic Thursday morning, while 16 others were detained for prosecution following an at-sea interdiction by Coast Guard law enforcement authorities Tuesday.

The crew of Coast Guard Cutter Sapelo located and interdicted a migrant yola Tuesday night while patrolling Mona Passage waters, approximately 17 nautical miles southeast of Mona Island, Puerto Rico.

The crew of the Sapelo arrived on scene with the migrant vessel, that was taking on water, and they proceeded to transfer onboard the cutter all 48 men and nine women from the interdicted yola. During the migrant transfer, the crew of an Air Station Borinquen HH-65 Dolphin helicopter flew rescue support overhead.

Once onboard the cutter, the crew of the Sapelo collected the biographic information, including digital fingerprints and facial photographs from the interdicted migrants, and detained 16 Dominican, 15 men and one woman, for attempting to enter illegally into the United States or a U.S. Territory on at least two occasions. The United States Attorney’s Office in Puerto Rico accepted to prosecute their cases.

The Sapelo rendezvoused with Coast Guard Cutter Decisive in Mona Passage waters Wednesday, where the crew of the Sapelo transferred custody of the 16 detained Dominicans to the Decisive. In turn, the crew of the Decisive transferred custody of the detained migrants Thursday morning to Border Patrol agents at the Puerto Rico Police Marine Station in Añasco, Puerto Rico.

The crew of the Sapelo repatriated the remaining 41 Dominicans Thursday morning, when they turned custody of the migrants over to Dominican Republic Naval authorities in La Romana, Dominican Republic.

The Coast Guard/US-VISIT 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 Sapelo is a 110-foot patrol boat homeported in San Juan, Puerto Rico, while the Coast Guard Cutter Decisive is a 210-foot medium endurance cutter homeported in Pascagoula, Miss.

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