San Juan, Puerto Rico - U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents and U.S. Coast Guard personnel discovered eight Dominicans onboard a small yola on Sunday afternoon.
While conducting a routine border security patrol the crew of a U.S. Customs and Border Protection aircraft detected a small single-engine yola-type vessel with no navigation lights 17 miles south-west of Puerto Rico. The vessel was dead in the water and appeared to have several occupants on board. A U.S. Coast Guard cutter and a CBP Marine unit were notified and responded to the location.
Surveillance of the vessel was maintained until the CBP Marine interceptor was able to visually acquire the small boat. At the time of intercept, CBP agents confirmed a total of eight persons on board, all males of Dominican nationality. Once on scene, the USCG cutter took custody of the occupants for processing and repatriation.
CBP and the U.S. Coast Guard are members of the Caribbean Border Interagency Group (CBIG).The concept of CBIG resulted from a March 2006 collaboration of local Homeland Security components that effectively stemmed the increased flow of traffic across the Mona Passage between the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico. In July 2006, CBIG was formally created to unify efforts of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection's Office of Air & Marine, Office of Field Operations and Office of Border Patrol, the U.S. Coast Guard, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the United States Attorney' s Office-District of Puerto Rico, and Puerto Rico Police Joint Forces of Rapid action in their common goal of securing Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands against illegal maritime traffic and gaining control of our nation's Caribbean borders.
CBP's Office of Air and Marine protects the American people and critical infrastructure by using an integrated and coordinated air and marine force to detect, interdict and prevent acts of terrorism arising from unlawful movement of people, illegal drugs and other contraband moving toward or crossing the borders of the United States.