SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Border Patrol Agents and Puerto Rico Police Department Officers arrested this morning 7 undocumented migrants from the Dominican Republic after landing on board a makeshift wooden vessel, off the northwestern coast of Puerto Rico.
After receiving a call from a concerned citizen, the Puerto Rico Police’s San Antonio ward substation contacted Ramey Border Patrol Sector communications to inform that around 7:00 AM, a “yola” type vessel had arrived to an area known as Bienvenidos beach in Aguadilla, with an unknown number of undocumented persons.
At the beach a 20ft wooden “yola” type vessel with a 40 horsepower engine was found, with debris and garbage.
With air support of a CBP DHC-8 Office of Air and Marine, Maritime Patrol Aircraft (MPA), Border Patrol Agents and Police officers started an intensive search of the beach area.
After several hours, 7 undocumented migrants were found, 6 males and 1 female, all claiming to be from the Dominican Republic, who were taken into custody for immigration processing.
The illegal maritime smuggling ventures arriving to Puerto Rico from the Dominican Republic are ordinarily transported in rustic, homemade wooden vessels commonly referred to as "yolas." A typical “yola” is an unsafe vessel, generally underpowered with a single outboard motor, and overloaded with a large number of passengers and without life vests. Every year CBP receives both confirmed and unconfirmed reports of aliens drowning while in transit to United States territory.
Eighty nautical miles separate the Dominican Republic from Puerto Rico.
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.