Local January 2, 2018 | 7:13 pm

US authorities nab 39 Dominicans trying to enter Puerto Rico

Aguadilla, Puerto Rico -U.S. Border Patrol, Coast Guard (USCG) and the Puerto Rico Police Department apprehended 39 undocumented aliens from the Dominican Republic during two separate incidents between the New Year celebration through the island’s west coast.

“We all remain vigilant to smuggling attempts even during the holidays,” stated Ramiro Cerrillo, Chief Patrol Agent for the Ramey Border Patrol Sector<https://www.cbp.gov/border-security/along-us-borders/border-patrol-sectors/ramey-sector-aguadilla-puerto-rico>. “Smugglers continue to have complete disregard for the safety of the people they attempt to bring into the island.”

On the evening of Dec. 31, the U.S. Coast Guard encountered a group of migrants in the southwestern end of the inhabited Desecheo Island.  Food, water and blankets were provided by Border Patrol Agents for overnight stay via a USCG helicopter.

In the early morning hours of Jan. 1, marine units of the Puerto Rico Police Joint Forces for Rapid Action (FURA, for its Spanish acronym) transferred 26 adult males, 2 adult females and 2 unaccompanied juvenile males, all claiming Dominican Republic citizenship, to a USCG vessel for processing.

In the afternoon, an additional smuggling event was reported near Carrizales in the town of Aguada. Border Patrol Agents responded to the area and discovered a 22 foot wooden “yola” vessel without an engine or markings.

After an extensive search, agents apprehended nine individuals claiming Dominican Republic nationality and one person claiming to be a US citizen. All subjects were transported to Ramey Station for further investigation and processing.

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