SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Border Patrol Agents arrested Monday 3 undocumented migrants found along with a group on board a makeshift wooden vessel that was intercepted approximately eight miles southeast of Mona Island.
Cecilio Lopez-Santana, 50, Robert DeJesus-Calderon, 41, and Carlos Julio Ozuna-Inirio, 35, will appear today before US District Court Camille Velez-Rive for an initial hearing regarding federal charges for attempting to re-enter after a previous removal or deportation.
A CBP DHC-8 Maritime Patrol Aircraft (MPA) located a 15-foot makeshift vessel with 10 persons on board. A US Coast Guard cutter Matinicus responded and subsequently intercepted the vessel.
All the undocumented migrants claimed to be citizens of the Dominican Republic, and were transferred into the USCG cutter for biometric processing. The 3 defendants had prior immigration records and were transported to the Mayaguez port where Border Patrol Agents assumed custody. The remaining group was repatriated to the Dominican Republic.
The Ramey Border Patrol prosecutions unit presented the case to Special Assistant US Attorney Glenn Goetchius who will lead the prosecution.
If convicted Mr. Lopez-Santana could be fined or imprisoned not more than 10 years, or both; and Mr. Ozuna-Inirio could be fined or imprisoned not more than 2 years, or both, and Mr. De Jesus-Calderon could be fined or imprisoned not more than 6 months, or both
All defendants are presumed innocent until found guilty by a court of law.
The Caribbean Border Interagency Group (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.