San Juan, Puerto Rico - A group of seven Dominican aliens appeared today before U.S. District Court Chief Magistrate Judge Justo Arenas, facing federal immigration charges after attempting to enter the island illegally last Monday.
Two defendants, Camilo Coplin-Hernandez and Nestor King-Kelly face charges for alien smuggling, as the alleged vessel captains.
The remaining defendants Maximo Pimentel, Miguel Bratini-Hernandez, Jose Luis Holguin -Vargas, Waskar Osvaldo Jose-Pena and Marcio Ynirio-Coplin, face charges for attempting to enter at a place other than as designated by immigration officers.
Last Monday morning, Ramey Sector Border Patrol Agents along with the Añasco PRDP-FURA Agents onboard a Cobra 52 intercepted a makeshift vessel or "yola" approximately two (2) nautical miles west of "Barrero" in Rincon, Puerto Rico.
As per Caribbean Border Interagency Group (CBIG) standard operating procedures, U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Cushing arrived on scene following the interdiction, embarked the migrants onboard and collected their biographic information, including digital fingerprints and facial photographs. Inspection of immigration and criminal data records revealed that the 10 defendants had a prior immigration encounters with federal authorities.
Border Patrol presented the case to the Immigration Unit of the United States Attorney's Office, who accepted the case for prosecution. Assistant United States Attorney Evelyn Canals and Special Assistant US Attorney Russell Booker III will prosecute the case.
If convicted defendants Coplin-Hernandez and King-Kelly, face a fine or imprisonment for not more than 20 years or both.
The remaining defendants face a fine or imprisonment for not more than two years or both.
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.