Coast Guard repatriates 9 nationals to Dominican Republic Navy

The Coast Guard Cutter Joseph Tezanos

Coast Guard Cutter Joseph Tezanos file photo

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — The Coast Guard Cutter Joseph Tezanos repatriated nine Dominican Republic nationals Wednesday, following the interdiction of an illegal voyage vessel near Cabo Rojo, Puerto Rico.

The interdiction is the result of ongoing local and federal multi-agency efforts in support of the Caribbean Border Interagency Group (CBIG).

One other Dominican man interdicted in the group will remain in Puerto Rico to face federal prosecution on charges of attempted illegal reentry into the United States. The United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Puerto Rico is leading the prosecution in this case.

The crew of a Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Air and Marine Operations (AMO) maritime unit interdicted a 20-foot makeshift boat Sunday night after a CBP Multi-Role Enforcement Aircraft (MEA) detected the suspect vessel approaching the coast of Cabo Rojo. Following the interdiction, the CBP crew safely embarked nine men and a woman from the makeshift boat that was taking on water. Shortly thereafter, the cutter Joseph Tezanos arrived on scene and embarked the group.

The cutter Joseph Tezanos rendezvoused with a Dominican Republic Navy vessel in the Mona Passage and transferred the interdicted group completing their repatriation.

“These illegal voyages are very dangerous where people put their lives at risk on a daily basis aboard unseaworthy vessels with no safety equipment,” said Lt. Cmdr. Alberto Martinez, Sector San Juan Acting Response. “I am very proud of our partner agency collaboration within the Caribbean Border Interagency Group and the work we carry out daily to stop illegal voyages and prevent them from becoming a Search and Rescue case.”

Since Oct. 1, 2021 through June 30, 2022, the Coast Guard has carried out 72 illegal voyage interdictions in the Mona Passage and waters near Puerto Rico. Interdicted during this period, are 1,919 non-U.S. citizens including 1,414 Dominicans, 404 Haitians, 01 Cuban, 1 Ecuadorian, 52 Venezuelan, 12 Uzbek, and 35 of unknown nationalities.

Cutter Joseph Tezanos is a 154-foot fast response cutters homeported in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Family members in the United States inquiring about possible family members interdicted at sea, please contact your local U.S. representative. Relatives located outside the United States please contact your local U.S. Embassy.

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