SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — The Coast Guard repatriated a group of 29 migrants Wednesday and 45 migrants Monday to La Romana, Dominican Republic.
The repatriated migrants were among 105 migrants (100 Dominicans, three Haitians and two Cubans), who were interdicted by the Coast Guard and Caribbean Border Interagency Group law enforcement authorities during three separate at-sea interdictions in waters between Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic.
Twenty seven of the interdicted migrants are facing potential federal criminal immigration charges in Puerto Rico.
“The journey of illegal migrant voyages crossing the Mona Passage is a treacherous one and at times could be deadly,” said Lt. Cmdr. Christopher Douglas, Coast Guard Sector San Juan chief of law enforcement. “Thanks to the close coordination and swift response from all the partner agencies involved in these interdictions 105 migrants were safely removed from grossly overloaded and unseaworthy vessels.”
The most recent interdiction took place Monday morning after a Customs and Border Protection maritime patrol aircraft detected a 22-foot migrant vessel in the Mona Passage off Puerto Rico. The Coast Guard Cutter Joseph Tezanos interdicted the grossly overloaded boat and embarked all 37 migrants (34 Dominican, one Haitian and two Cuban nationals).
A second migrant vessel was detected by a patrolling Coast Guard HC-144 Ocean Sentry aircraft as the boat transited to Puerto Rico from the Dominican Republic. The cutter Joseph Tezanos interdicted the 26-foot migrant boat Saturday morning and embarked all 38 Dominican nationals.
The third migrant vessel was detected Friday afternoon by a Customs and Border Protection maritime patrol aircraft as the boat transited to Puerto Rico from the Dominican Republic. The cutter Joseph Tezanos interdicted the vessel and embarked all 30 migrants (28 Dominican and two Haitian nationals).
Once aboard a Coast Guard cutter, all migrants receive food, water, shelter and basic medical attention.
The Coast Guard Cutter Joseph Tezanos is a 154-foot fast response cutter homeported in San Juan, Puerto Rico.
The Caribbean Border Interagency Group 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 (FURA, for its Spanish acronym), in their common goal of securing the borders of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands against illegal migrant and drug smuggling.