San Juan – The Coast Guard repatriated 45 of 48 migrants to the Dominican Republic on Sunday afternoon, following the interdiction of three illegal trips in the Pasaje de la Mona near Puerto Rico.
“The close collaboration, coordination and capabilities of the Coast Guard units and our local and federal law enforcement partners that responded to these cases helped save the lives of the 48 migrants and safeguard the country’s southernmost maritime border,” he said. Lt. Joel Wyman Cutter Commander-in-Chief Winslow Griesser in written communication.
“These illegal trips put the lives of the migrants in great danger, since for the most part, these makeshift boats are highly overloaded, unfit to navigate and are continually filling with water, which could cause them to sink or capsize with little or no warning, “he added.
Two of the intercepted migrants remain in Puerto Rico to face possible federal prosecution on charges of attempted illegal re-entry into the United States.
Another migrant woman is receiving medical care at a local hospital in Puerto Rico.
The interdictions are the result of ongoing efforts by multiple agencies in support of Operation Caribbean Guard and the Caribbean Border Interagency Group (CBIG).
The first interdiction occurred on Friday morning, after the crew of a maritime patrol aircraft from US Customs and Border Protection detected an illegal trip approximately 17 nautical miles northwest of Aguadilla.
Coast Guard guards diverted the Winslow Griesser cutter to intercept, while a marine unit from the United Forces of Rapid Action of the Puerto Rico Police (FURA) also responded.
Once at the scene, Marine units from the Coast Guard and Puerto Rico Police intercepted the 25-foot makeshift boat.
The crew of the Winslow Griesser cutter safely embarked the 38 migrants, 31 men and seven women, all of whom claimed Dominican nationality.
The second interdiction occurred on Friday afternoon, after the crew of a maritime patrol aircraft from the US Customs and Border Protection Office detected an illegal trip, approximately 58 nautical miles northwest of Desecheo Island.
Coast Guard watchers diverted Coast Guard Charles David Jr. (WPC-1107), who intercepted the 18-foot makeshift boat with the help of the small cutter boat.
The cutter crew safely embarked seven migrants, five men and two women, all of whom claimed Dominican nationality.
A migrant woman in this group who experienced deteriorating health complications while on board the migrant boat, was evacuated by paramedics to a local hospital.
A FURA marine unit of the Puerto Rico Police intercepted the third illegal trip on Sunday afternoon, approximately two nautical miles north of Aguadilla.
The Winslow Griesser cutter was diverted to the scene and embarked three men, all of whom claimed Dominican nationality.
Once aboard the coast guard, all the migrants received food, water, shelter and basic medical care.
After boarding all the migrants, the crew conducted biometric processing for the group, which revealed the criminal and immigration history of the two migrants, who are facing federal prosecution.
US Border Patrol agents received custody of both migrants in Mayagüez.
The Winslow Griesser completed the repatriation of the remaining migrants to a Dominican Republic Navy ship in waters near Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic.
The Winslow Griesser and Charles David Jr. cutters are 154 foot fast response cutters, respectively, based in San Juan, Puerto Rico and Key West Fla.