AGUADILLA, Puerto Rico -- US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Border Patrol and US Coast Guard (USCG) have interdicted 41 undocumented immigrants -- 38 Haitian nationals and 3 Dominican Republic nationals. The 41 undocumented migrants were intercepted early Saturday morning seven nautical miles northwest of Mona Island, Puerto Rico.
“Crossing the Mona Passage is a treacherous voyage filled with many dangers that pose a huge risk to migrants,” said Ramiro Cerrillo, chief patrol agent for the CBP Ramey Border Patrol Sector. “We reiterate our message that potential migrants should not be fooled by false promises made by criminal organizations that organize such perilous journeys.”
Near midnight September 6, a Coast Guard MH-65 Dolphin helicopter from Air Station Boriquen detected a 25 ft vessel with one outboard motor and no navigational lights near Mona Island. USCG Cutter Sapelo intercepted the vessel seven nautical miles from the northeast corner of Mona Island at approximately 1:00 am and from the vessel disembarked 41 undocumented migrants -- 33 males and 8 females. All the migrants claimed to be Haitian nationals. USCG destroyed the unmarked wooden vessel.
CBP Border Patrol Agents boarded the cutter Sapelo to perform immigration interviews. Biometric processing of all the migrants confirmed that two migrants were Dominican Republic nationals that had been previously removed from the United States. Three citizens of the Dominican Republic were transported to the Ramey Border Patrol Station for processing.
The US Coast Guard repatriated the 38 Haitian nationals.
Segundo Alcala-Del Rosario, 47, and Nathan Exavier, 41, both citizens of the Dominican Republic were brought to the Ramey Border Patrol Station for processing.
Exavier and Alcala-Del Rosario were due to appear on Tuesday before US Magistrate Judge Silvia Carreño-Coll on charges of re-entering after a previous removal from the US.
If convicted both defendants could be fined, imprisoned not more than 10 years, or both. All defendants are presumed innocent until found guilty in a court of law.
On September 3, members of the Caribbean Border Interagency Group (CBIG) also intervened with a group of 57 Haitians and 1 Cuban in Desecheo Island.