Coast Guard Repatriates 59 Dominicans, Detains 3

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Matinicus repatriated 59 Dominican migrants to La Romana, Dominican Republic, at approximately 12 p.m. today, following an at-sea interdiction of the migrants on Thursday.

Three migrants were identified through the use of biometrics, digital fingerprints and photographs, two of them, as having been previously deported and convicted on drug related charges. The third migrant was identified and detained for attempting to enter illegally into U.S. territory for the fourth time. The crew of the Matinicus turned over custody of all three migrants to U.S. Border Patrol agents in Mayaguez Friday, for further processing in anticipation of filing of charges by the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

The 62 migrants were initially located at 9:50 p.m. Thursday, by the crew of a Customs and Border Protection C-12 fixed-wing aircraft, approximately 37 nautical miles northwest of Aguadilla, Puerto Rico. The migrants were traveling illegally to Puerto Rico aboard a 35-foot-blue yola with two 40-horsepower outboard engines.

The Matinicus was dispatched and interdicted the yola at 11:53 p.m. Thursday, approximately 13 nautical miles north of Desecheo Island, Puerto Rico. The crew of the Matinicus safely transferred the migrants to the cutter while a U.S. Coast Guard HH-65 Dolphin helicopter from Air Station Borinquen flew rescue support overhead. The crew of the Matinicus destroyed the 35-foot yola as a hazard to navigation.

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 Matinicus is a 110-foot patrol boat homeported in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Source: USCG D7 Public Affairs

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