Local April 9, 2016 | 8:58 am

U.S. Coast Guard to repatriate 15 Dominican boatpeople

Santo Domingo.- U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), U.S. Coast Guard and Puerto Rico Police Department assets detected and intercepted Tuesday a makeshift wooden vessel with 22 undocumented migrants from the Dominican Republic and Brazil near the northwest coast of Puerto Rico.

"Air and Marine Operations agents remain vigilant for illegal smuggling operations throughout the region and work tirelessly with our partners to protect our borders," stated Johnny Morales, director of Air Operations for the Caribbean Air and Marine Branch.

Late afternoon a CBP Air and Marine Operations (AMO) Maritime Patrol Aircraft detected a "yola" type vessel traveling east, north of Aguadilla. The AMO aircraft crew maintained surveillance of the vessel while a CBP Marine Unit, a PRPD FURA Marine Unit and USCG Cutter Winslow Griesser were deployed to intercept.

The law enforcement assets reached and intercepted the vessel 9 miles north of Aguadilla, finding 22 migrants onboard; 13 males from Dominican Republic and 9 Brazilians onboard were all transferred to the Coast Guard cutter for safety and biometric processing. A USCG cutter will repatriate 15 migrants to the Dominican Republic.

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