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  4. Air and Marine Operations crews and partners rescue 68 migrants near Puerto Rico

Air and Marine Operations crews and partners rescue 68 migrants near Puerto Rico

Release Date
Fri, 05/24/2024

AGUADILLA, Puerto Rico— A U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Air and Marine Operations (AMO) 41’ Coastal Interceptor Vessel crew worked with law enforcement partners to rescue 68 undocumented migrants at sea.  

68 migrants AMO Cabo ROjo

The morning of May 20, Mayaguez Marine Unit Marine Interdiction Agents responded to a report from a federal partner of a possible maritime smuggling event in Puerto Rico. Coastal Interceptor Vessel crews launched to search the area. Air and Marine Agents detected a suspicious vessel near Cabo Rojo.

The Coastal Interceptor Vessel crew gave commands and signals for the vessel to stop. However, the suspicious vessel did not comply with commands, and endangered a minor female by holding her against her will over an outboard engine. Marine Interdiction Agents stopped the severely overloaded vessel and issued life jackets to the migrants on-board.

Air and Marine Agents disembarked the migrants to the Coastal Interceptor Vessel and partner vessels operated by Puerto Rico Police (Fuerzas Unidas de Rapida Acción - FURA). The Air and and Marine Operations crew notified U.S. Coast Guard Sector San Juan and U.S. Border Patrol Ramey Sector of the operations and coordinated transfer of 68 migrants to a nearby Coast Guard Cutter.

“Air and Marine Operations crews are ready to respond to dangerous maritime situations like this.” stated Melvin Garcia, Deputy Director of Marine Operations at the Caribbean Air and Marine Branch. “This situation could have turned into a tragedy with the smugglers’ lack of regard for human life and the placement of so many people on an extremely overloaded vessel.”

AMO safeguards our nation by anticipating and confronting security threats through our aviation and maritime law enforcement expertise, innovative capabilities, and partnerships at the border and beyond. With approximately 1,800 federal agents and mission support personnel, 240 aircraft and 300 marine vessels operating throughout the United States, Puerto Rico, and U.S. Virgin Islands, AMO serves as the nation’s experts in airborne and maritime law enforcement.

In Fiscal Year 2023, AMO enforcement actions resulted in 1,004 arrests and 89,909 apprehensions of undocumented individuals, as well as the seizure or disruption of 256,883 pounds of cocaine, 2,049 pounds of fentanyl, 4,050 pounds of methamphetamine, 2,200 weapons, and $15.3 million.

For more information about CBP, visit: CBP.govFlickrDVIDS, or follow us on X (AMO), Instagram(AMO), and Facebook (AMO).

Last Modified: May 28, 2024