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CBP, USCG intervene with 10 undocumented migrants in Mona island; 1 man allegedly drowned

Release Date: 
April 3, 2015

Border Patrol reiterates warnings regarding about the perilous voyage

AGUADILLA, Puerto Rico – U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Border Patrol Agents apprehended 10 undocumented Cuban and Dominican Republic immigrants after they landed in the early morning hours today in Mona Island.  The US Coast Guard found a dead body floating near the islands’ shore.

Park Rangers from the Puerto Rico Department of Natural and Environmental Resources contacted the Ramey Border Patrol Station indicating that at approximately 3 A.M. a group of 10 undocumented migrants, consisting of 6 adult Cuban males, 1 adult Dominican male, 2 adult females and, one 3 year old boy, reached the outpost located on Mona Island, Puerto Rico.

The migrants stated that they had arrived on a vessel from the Dominican Republic and indicating the disappearance of 1 male upon their arrival. 
The United States Coast Guard was notified and a search and rescue operation was initiated. A USCG MH-65 Dolphin helicopter located the body and the crew of the USCG Cutter Farallon arrived on scene and recovered the deceased body of an adult male.

The crew of the cutter Farallon transported the body of the deceased to the Port of Mayaguez where by the Homicide Division of the Police of Puerto Rico will start the investigation.  

The USCG cutter Farallon  will transport later in the afternoon the group of migrants where CBP Border Patrol Agents assumed custody of the group for interviews and 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. At the approximate mid-point lies the island of Mona, an uninhabited island that is a United States territory. 

Migrant smugglers in the Dominican Republic strategically navigate to and use Mona Island as a drop off point for migrants who must then be recovered from Mona and transported to Puerto Rico by CBP or USCG air or marine assets.

The Administration’s recent announcement regarding Cuba does not signify a change in the current immigration policy toward Cuba, under the 1995 amendment of the Cuban Adjustment Act of 1966.  CBP maintains a robust posture regarding the enforcement of our immigration laws along the nation’s borders and coastal areas, and Coast Guard cutters aggressively patrol the Caribbean and Florida Straits to interdict migrants traveling from Cuba to the United States by water.

The Caribbean Border Interagency Group (CBIG) was formally created to unify efforts of the Customs and Border Protection, 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.

Last modified: 
February 9, 2017