Seventy-five migrants were repatriated to the Dominican Republic between Saturday (April 29) and Monday (May 1) after the United States Coast Guards interdicted a vessel on an illegal voyage in Mona Passage waters near Puerto Rico.
Two of the men interdicted in these voyages are facing federal prosecution at the U.S. District Court in Puerto Rico on charges of attempted illegal re-entry into the United States.
According to the US Coast Guards in a statement on Monday, the first interdiction occurred Thursday (April 27) night during a routine patrol when the US Coast Guards aircrew detected a suspect vessel northwest of Mona Island, Puerto Rico.
The Coast Guard Cutter Richard Dixon subsequently intercepted the suspect vessel.
“Once on scene, cutter Richard Dixon safely embarked 41 persons from a grossly overloaded makeshift vessel. Among the interdicted were 28 men and 12 women, and a female minor, who claimed to be Dominican Republic nationals,” the statement said.
Thirty-seven of the migrants were later transferred to a Dominican Republic Navy vessel Saturday, while the minor and her mother were transferred to Children and Adolescents National Council (CONANI) representatives in the Dominican Republic.
“The Coast Guard’s resolve to interdict illegal voyage vessels is unwavering, as these voyages dangerous and place the lives of everyone in the voyage at risk,” said Cmdr. Gerard Wenk, Sector San Juan chief of response.
“These voyages are highly dangerous and most often occur aboard unseaworthy vessels with no lifesaving equipment. Migrants need to realize that if they are caught, they not only risk prosecution, but also the possibility of not being able to legally enter the United States in the future.”
Another 30-foot vessel transporting 36 migrants consisting of 32 men and two women said to be nationals of the Dominica Republic and two Haitians were interdicted in waters northwest of Aguadilla, Puerto Rico.
The group was later transferred to a Dominican Republic Navy vessel Monday just off Punta Cana, Dominican Republic.
The two migrants facing federal prosecution were transferred to Ramey Sector U.S. Border Patrol agents in Mayaguez, Puerto Rico.
The interdictions are the result of ongoing local and federal multi-agency efforts in support of the Caribbean Border Interagency Group (CBIG).
Since October 1, 2022, through April 30, 2023, the Coast Guard has carried out 31 illegal voyage interdictions in the Mona Passage and waters near Puerto Rico.
Interdicted during this period, are 992 non-U.S. citizens including 758 Dominicans, 211 Haitians, 13 Venezuelans, seven Kazakhs, one Albanian and one other unknown nationality.