AGUADILLA, Puerto Rico -- US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and US Coast Guard (USCG) intercepted late Saturday night a makeshift wooden vessel with 38 undocumented migrant citizens from the Dominican Republic.
A crew of a CBP Marine Patrol Aircraft detected a single engine 25-foot “yola” type wooden vessel without any navigational lights. CBP air assets coordinated with USCG cutter Matinicus and intercepted the vessel about 12 nautical miles northwest of Desecheo Island, finding 38 persons on board who claimed to be citizens of the Dominican Republic.
The migrants were transferred to the USCG cutter for biometric processing and interviews with CBP Border Patrol agents. The examination revealed that seven migrants were had prior illegal entry attempts and 22 were attempting to enter illegally into US territory for the first time.
The USCG repatriated 31 aliens and CBP Border Patrol Agents arrested seven aliens, who were transferred to the Ramey Station for disposition later in the week. The US Attorney’s Office in Puerto Rico agreed to prosecute the six Dominican nationals on charges of illegal entry into a US territory.
According to the United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime (UNODC), while smuggling by sea accounts only for a small portion of overall migrant smuggling around the world, the particular dangers of irregular travel at sea make it a priority for response due to the reported fact that more deaths occur by sea.
People who attempt to illegally enter a US territory not only risk becoming victim of criminal organizations but are also subject to formal administrative processing and arrest by CBP agents and officers.