AGUADILLA, Puerto Rico —U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Air and Marine Operations (AMO) agents detected and intercepted Wednesday a wooden makeshift vessel with 32 undocumented aliens from the Dominican Republic attempting to reach the northwestern coast.
“We remain committed to working with other federal and local law enforcement partners to detect and deter smuggling attempts throughout the Caribbean,” stated Johnny Morales, Director of CBP’s Air and Marine Operations in the Caribbean.
On Nov. 20, the crew of an AMO DHC-8 Maritime Patrol Aircraft observed a 30ft single-engine “yola” type vessel navigating east about 26 miles from the city of Aguadilla.
The crew of the MPA maintained constant surveillance of the vessel, contacting an AMO Marine Interceptor Vessel crew which intercepted the vessel, finding 32 people onboard, 30 males and two females, all claiming to be nationals of the Dominican Republic.
Following the Caribbean Border Interagency Group (CBIG) protocols, the 32 aliens boarded the US Coast Guard cutter Donald Horsley for biometric processing.
On Nov. 21, Coast Guard transported 4 aliens to the Mayaguez Port of entry where Ramey Station Border Patrol agents arrested them pending prosecution for violations to federal immigration law.
A US Coast Guard cutter Donald Horsley repatriated the remaining 28 aliens to the Dominican Republic.
AMO is a federal law enforcement organization dedicated to serving and protecting the American people through advanced aeronautical and maritime capabilities. 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 conducts its mission in the air and maritime environments at and beyond the border, and within the nation's interior.
CBIG was formally created to unify efforts of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the United States Attorney's Office for the District of Puerto Rico, and Puerto Rico Police Joint Forces of Rapid Action (FURA, for its Spanish acronym), in their common goal of securing the borders of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands against illegal migrant and drug smuggling.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection is the unified border agency within the Department of Homeland Security charged with the management, control and protection of our nation's borders at and between official ports of entry. CBP is charged with securing the borders of the United States while enforcing hundreds of laws and facilitating lawful trade and travel.