Local January 17, 2014 | 2:33 pm

U.S. arrests more Haitians trying to reach Puerto Rico

San Juan, Puerto Rico.- A group of 17 undocumented Haitians, 5 women and 12 men, were arrested Friday on Mona Island, 70 km west of Puerto Rico and halfway across the strait separating the U.S. territory from Dominican Republic, EFE reports.

In a statement, Puerto Rico police said hunters on Mona Island spotted sighted a group of boatpeople early Friday, and alerted Puerto Rico’s park rangers.

It said 17 people were arrested, but didn’t say how the group reached Mona Island, an uninhabited nature reserve located half way between Puerto Rico and Hispaniola.

The authorities said all the detainees are in good health and in the custody of the U.S. Coast Guard.

Today’s interdiction is the latest in a series of apprehensions under similar circumstances and in the same area, including Wednesday’s detention of another group of boatpeople, which managed to reach Puerto Rico’s west coast.

The 80-nautical mile (130 km) wide Mona Passage separates Hispaniola and Puerto Rico, where mostly Dominican boatpeople regularly go missing while trying to cross aboard makeshift boats called yolas.

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