CBP Assists with Apprehension of Individuals Smuggling Cubans into Mona Island
Aguadilla, Puerto Rico - Caribbean Border Interagency Group (CBIG) federal authorities arrested two subjects of the Dominican Republic this morning after they were caught dropping off nine Cuban aliens in Mona Island last night.
The U.S. Attorney's Office accepted to prosecute the cases of the two Dominican men for charges of smuggling aliens and for attempting to enter at a place other than as designated by immigration officers.
A U.S. Customs and Border Protection DHC-8 marine patrol aircraft from the Caribbean Air and Marine Branch, located a suspect single engine "yola" type vessel with no lights and approximately eight to 10 people onboard, heading eastbound towards the west coast of Mona Island.
Near midnight, the CBP DHC-8 aircraft maintained aerial view of the suspect vessel as it approached the west coast of Mona Island and approximately nine people abandoned the vessel swimming to shore.
Immediately the suspect vessel turned around and departed at a high rate of speed with two person's onboard heading westbound towards the Dominican Republic.
The CBP DHC-8 aircraft maintained view of the vessel and assisted the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Chincoteague in the interdiction of the suspect vessel Northeast of Mona Island.
U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Chincoteague intercepted the vessel approximately two nautical miles west of Mona Island and took custody of the two passengers on board, who identified themselves as citizens of the Dominican Republic.
A CBP Blackhawk helicopter, with Border Patrol agents, headed to Mona Island to intervene and interview the migrants that came ashore.
The Puerto Rico Department of Natural Resources Park Rangers were notified and responded to the site, proceeding to take into custody nine Cuban aliens; seven males and two females.
Upon landing in Mona Border Patrol agents interviewed all nine Cubans as to their immigration status.
The CBP Blackhawk transported six Cuban nationals from Mona Island to Aguadilla, where they were transported to the Ramey Border Patrol Station for processing.
The crew of the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Chincoteague towed the migrant vessel and transported the remaining three migrants and the two suspected smugglers to Mayaguez, Puerto Rico, where they transferred custody of the migrants and the vessel to awaiting Ramey Sector Border Patrol agents.