AGUADILLA, Puerto Rico – U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Border Patrol Agents apprehended 18 undocumented migrants from Cuba, Haiti, and the Dominican Republic in two separate incidents over this weekend.
“Crossing the Mona Passage is a treacherous voyage filled with many dangers that pose a huge risk to migrants,” stated Ramiro Cerrillo, Ramey Sector Chief Patrol Agent. “Migrants continue to place themselves at the mercy of smugglers who have complete disregard for their safety.”
On Friday October 23, the United States Coast Guard’s Sector San Juan notified the Border Patrol’s Ramey Sector Communications Center that a maritime smuggling event had taken place on Mona Island, where a total of 6 suspected undocumented Cuban nationals (5 adult men and 1 adult female) made landfall.
USCG Cutter Matinicus transported the group to the Mayaguez Port of Entry last night where Border Patrol Agents from the Ramey Station who will take them into custody for screening and processing.
On Sunday October 25, the Ramey Border Patrol Sector Radio Dispatch received a call from the Puerto Rico Police Department (PRPD) advising that a maritime smuggling event had taken place in the town of Cabo Rojo, in southwestern coast of Puerto Rico. Ramey Border Patrol agents responded to Cabo Rojo and found a white and blue, twenty-two (22) foot vessel with a 60 HP Yamaha outboard engine.
An extensive search ensued which produced the apprehension of 12 undocumented migrants (Six (6) male Haitian nationals, Five (5) female Haitian nationals and One (1) female Dominican national).
A male migrant was transported to the “El Buen Samaritano” Hospital in Aguadilla, who was treated for symptoms of dehydration.
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 (as an example, a forty foot “yola” can accommodate over one hundred persons).
Every year the Ramey Border Patrol Sector receives both confirmed and unconfirmed reports of aliens drowning while in transit to the territory.
CBP maintains a robust posture regarding the enforcement of our immigration laws along the nation’s borders and coastal areas.
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.