AGUADILLA, Puerto Rico – U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Border Patrol, Air Interdiction Agents and Puerto Rico Police officers apprehended 20 undocumented migrants today from Haiti and the Dominican Republic during the process of disembarking near the coastal town of Aguada.
“Migrants continue to put their lives at unnecessary risk by navigating through the Mona Passage not knowing the multiple hazards within the area,” stated Ramiro Cerrillo, Ramey Sector Chief Patrol Agent. “We reiterate our warning of the perils of making such a dangerous journey.” A Ramey Station Border Patrol Agent spotted an overcrowded 25 ft. makeshift wooden boat “yola” type vessel heading towards the Aguada coast using a mobile surveillance system.
The Puerto Police Department Maritime Unit (FURA, for its Spanish acronym) and CBP Air and Marine Operations were deployed to intercept. The “yola” vessel made landfall near a communications antenna in Aguada.
CBP Agents and FURA officers were able to arrest 20 illegal aliens; 4 Haitian males, 12 Dominican males, 3 Dominican females, and 1 juvenile Dominican male accompanied by his mother.
The group was transported to the Ramey Border Patrol Station for processing under federal immigration law. Biometric review of the migrants will reveal if any have prior immigration encounters or any other record.
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).
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.