U.S. Coast Guard intercepts 18 boatpeople near Puerto Rico
SAN JUAN.– Caribbean Border Interagency Group (CBIG) federal law enforcement authorities intercepted this morning a single engine yola type vessel with 18 undocumented citizens of the Dominican Republic in the vicinity of Mona Island.
Near midnight the crew of a US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) maritime surveillance aircraft detected a wooden makeshift “yola” boat en route east from the Dominican Republic towards Mona Island, Puerto Rico.
CBP air assets coordinated with the US Coast Guard and CBP marine assets to locate and intercept the vessel.
The USCG cutter Chincoteague reached and intercepted the vessel south of Mona Island.
The vessel description is a wooden white over blue in color and 25 foot in length, had 18 persons on board, 13 males and 5 females claiming to be Dominican nationals.
CBP Border Patrol Agents reached the Chincoteague and interviewed the undocumented aliens.
After biometric processing and verification of immigration and criminal records 5 aliens; 3 adult Dominican males, 1 Haitian female and 1 Haitian male, will be brought to US territory for criminal prosecution.
The crew of the Chincoteague transferred custody of five aliens to Ramey Sector Border Patrol Agents and repatriated the remaining 13 migrants at La Romana, Dominican Republic to awaiting Dominican Republic Naval authorities ashore.
According to the United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime (UNODC), while smuggling by sea accounts only for a small portion of overall migrant smuggling around the world, the particular dangers of irregular travel at sea make it a priority for response; due to the reported fact that more deaths occur by sea.
People who venture to enter into a U.S. territory not only risk becoming victim of criminal organizations but can also be exposed to the inconvenience of a formal administrative processing and arrest by CBP agents or officers of CBP.
U.S. immigration law makes it a crime to enter or attempt to enter without requesting admission at a port of entry by immigration officers.