Coast Guard returns 35 non-U.S. citizens to the Dominican Republic

The Coast Guard Cutter Donald Horsley cutter boat interdicts an illegal voyage vessel with 21 non-U.S. citizens May 23, 2022, approximately 10 nautical miles south of Mona Island, Puerto Rico. The interdiction is the result of ongoing local and federal multi-agency efforts in support of the Caribbean Border Interagency Group CBIG. (U.S. Coast Guard photo)

The Coast Guard Cutter Donald Horsley cutter boat interdicts an illegal voyage vessel with 21 non-U.S. citizens May 23, 2022. (U.S. Coast Guard photo)

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — The Coast Guard between Tuesday and Friday returned eight Dominican, 15 Haitian and 12 Uzbek nationals to the Dominican Republic, following the interdiction of two illegal voyages in Mona Passage waters near Puerto Rico.

Four other Dominicans apprehended during these interdictions are facing federal criminal prosecution in Puerto Rico for attempted illegal re-entry into the United States. The United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Puerto Rico is leading the prosecutions in this case.

“We remain gravely concerned for the safety of people embarking illegal voyages across the Mona Passage and ask they not take to the sea,” said Capt. José E. Díaz, acting commander of Coast Guard Sector San Juan. “The dangers are quite evident; each of these voyages is a mass rescue case waiting to happen. Your life will be in danger as the voyages most often take place aboard grossly overloaded and unseaworthy makeshift vessels that are highly unstable, continuously are taking on water, and have little or no adequate life-saving equipment.”

The interdictions are the result of ongoing local and federal multi-agency efforts in support of the Caribbean Border Interagency Group CBIG.

Coast Guard Cutter Donald Horsley interdicted a 26-foot makeshift boat Monday, initially detected by the aircrew of a Customs and Border Protection Air and Marine Enforcement aircraft, approximately 10 nautical miles south of Mona Island, Puerto Rico. The Donald Horsley crew embarked all 21 persons, including six Dominican and eight Haitian men, five Haitian women and two Haitian minors.

Coast Guard Cutter Joseph Tezanos interdicted a 25-foot makeshift boat May 18, 2022, initially detected by the aircrew of a Customs and Border Protection Air and Marine Enforcement aircraft, approximately 11 nautical miles northwest of Aguadilla, Puerto Rico. The cutter Joseph Tezanos crew embarked all 18 persons, including six Dominican and 12 Uzbek men.

Ramey Sector Border Patrol agents received custody of the four apprehended Dominican men Wednesday in Aguadilla, 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.

CBIG was formally created to unify efforts of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Puerto Rico and Puerto Rico Police Joint Forces of Rapid Action, in their common goal of securing the borders of Puerto Rico against illegal migrant and drug smuggling.

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