San Juan, Puerto Rico - Eight undocumented aliens from the Dominican Republic appeared today before U.S. District Court Magistrate Judge Justo Arenas, facing charges for various violations to current United States immigration laws.
The defendants were arrested after two separate incidents Monday morning - one on Combate beach in Cabo Rojo, and the other several miles off the coast of Rincon.
In both incidents, law enforcement components of the Caribbean Border Interagency Group responded.
The defendants Jose Vasquez-Mejia, Leonardo Aybar, Catalino Alejo-Santos, Rolando Galves-Mejia, Pedro Benjamin-Coplin, and Jose Mejia-Dishney, face charges for violation of title 8 USC 1325, which prescribes entering or attempting to enter at a place not designated as a port of entry by immigration officers.
Defendants Josefa Ramona-Rodriguez and Victor Kerry-Amparo and face charges for violation of title 8 USC 1326, which prescribes entering or attempting to enter the United States after a previous deportation, without seeking permission to enter.
Border Patrol agents interviewed all aliens, whose photo and fingerprint information was entered into biometric data systems, to document and verify for immigration and criminal history violations.
Systems revealed that the prosecuted aliens had prior criminal or immigration encounters.
The U.S. Border Patrol presented their cases to the Immigration Unit of the United States Attorney's Office, which accepted the cases for prosecution. Assistant United States Attorney Evelyn Canals and Special United States Attorney Eugenio Lomba will prosecute the cases.
If convicted the defendants face a fine and sentence of up to two years.
All defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty by a court of law.
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.