AGUADILLA, PUERTO RICO—U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Border Patrol and U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) interdicted 41 undocumented immigrants, 38 Haitians nationals and 3 Dominican Republic nationals. The 41 undocumented nationals 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 Borinquen 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 2 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.
U.S. 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. The CBP Border Patrol prosecutions unit presented the case to the consideration of AUSA Michael C. Baggé-Hernández for prosecution.
Exavier and Alcala-Del Rosario will appear for an initial appearance Tuesday before U.S. Magistrate Judge Silvia Carreño-Coll for charges of re-entering after a previous removal from the U.S.
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.
CBIG was formally created to unify efforts of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the U.S. Coast Guard, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the United States Attorney's Office for the District of Puerto Rico, and Puerto Rico Police Joint Rapid Action Forces (FURA, for its Spanish acronym), in their common goal of securing the Puerto Rico and U.S. Virgin Islands borders against illegal migrant and drug smuggling.