AGUADILLA, Puerto Rico -- US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Border Patrol, US Coast Guard (USCG) and Puerto Rico Police interdicted 21 undocumented immigrants -- 11 Haitians nationals and 10 Dominican Republic nationals -- in two separate landing incidents Sunday and Monday. One citizen of the Dominican Republic will be prosecuted for attempting to re-enter after a previous removal from the US.
“We reiterate our message that potential migrants should not be fooled by false promises made by criminal organizations that organize such perilous journeys,” said Ramiro Cerrillo, chief patrol agent for the CBP Ramey Border Patrol Sector.
Migrants receive medical attention after being apprehended
On Sunday afternoon, Park Rangers stationed in Mona Island, contacted US Coast Guard Sector San Juan, who contacted the Ramey Border Patrol Sector, stating they had detained 11 Haitian nationals (7 males/4 females), on Mona Island. USCG Cutter Sapelo removed the group from Mona and transported them to the Mayaguez port of entry where CBP Border Patrol Agents assumed custody.
On Monday, a Puerto Rico Police marine unit conducting coastal patrol, encountered a yola type vessel west of Punta Guaniquilla, Cabo Rojo with ten individuals on board claiming to be Dominican Republic nationals.
"Smugglers are risking the lives of migrants in the Mona Passage by grossly overloading their makeshift and unseaworthy boats and endangering hundreds of human lives in the process,” said Capt. Drew Pearson, Coast Guard Sector San Juan commander. “For those thinking about taking to the sea, don’t do it, it could cost you your life.”
The undocumented migrants were embarked unto USCG Cutter Sapelo. CBP Border Patrol Agents came on board the cutter Sapelo to perform immigration interviews. Biometric processing of all the migrants confirmed that one migrant had been previously removed from the United States.
US Coast Guard Cutter Sapelo repatriated the remaining nine migrants to Dominican Republic authorities.
Pedro Matrinez-Medina, 27, a citizen of the Dominican Republic was brought to the Ramey Border Patrol Station for processing.
Martinez-Medina was due to appear for an initial appearance, Wednesday before US Magistrate Judge Bruce McGiverin on charges of re-entering after a previous removal from the US.
If convicted the defendant could be fined, imprisoned not more than two years, or both. All defendants are presumed innocent until found guilty in a court of law.
Last week, members of the Caribbean Border Interagency Group (CBIG) also intervened with 99 undocumented migrants, 95 Haitians, 3 Dominicans and 1 Cuban. For the FY 2013, closing September 30, Border Patrol has apprehended 583 undocumented Haitian immigrants.