Authorities Interdict 21 Undocumented Migrants in Separate Incidents
AGUADILLA, PUERTO RICO—U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Border Patrol, U.S. 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 U.S.
"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.
Sunday afternoon, park rangers stationed in Mona Island contacted U.S. Coast Guard Sector San Juan who contacted the Ramey Border Patrol Sector stating they had detained eleven (7 Males/4 Females) Haitian Nationals, 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 10 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.
U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Sapelo repatriated the remaining 9 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 will appear for an initial appearance, Wednesday for charges of re-entering after a previous removal from the U.S.
If convicted the defendant could be fined, imprisoned not more than 2 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 fiscal year 2013, closing September 30, Border Patrol has apprehended 583 undocumented Haitian immigrants.
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.
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 the official ports of entry. CBP is charged with keeping terrorists and terrorist weapons out of the country while enforcing hundreds of U.S. laws.