AGUADILLA, PUERTO RICO—U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Border Patrol agents arrested a man on Saturday who was found transporting three Dominican Republic migrants from the western coast of the island to the San Juan metropolitan area.
Elvin Castro, 28, a U.S. citizen and resident of Puerto Rico, was arrested after his Nissan Maxima was stopped in the vicinity of highway PR-22 within the city of Arecibo by Puerto Rico Police Department officers assisting Border Patrol agents. Inside the vehicle there were three Dominican Republic nationals with Castro.
"Citizens should be aware that federal penalties for assisting in transporting migrants illegally present in the United States will be imposed,"stated Ramiro Cerrillo, chief patrol agent at the CBP Ramey Border Patrol Sector.
During the migrant interviews, they revealed that they had made entry on board a makeshift vessel Thursday, October 31 near the Rincon lighthouse. In addition to the three Dominican nationals found in Castro's vehicle, two other migrants were arrested that evening.
Castro will make an initial appearance Monday before U.S. District Court Magistrate Judge Silvia Carreño for charges of harboring aliens. Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Baggé will lead the prosecution.
Federal law establishes criminal penalties if a person "knowing or in reckless disregard of the fact that an alien has come to, entered, or remains in the United States in violation of law, transports, or moves or attempts to transport or move such alien within the United States by means of transportation or otherwise, in furtherance of such violation of law."
If convicted, Castro could be fined or imprisoned not more than five years, or both for each migrants. All defendants are presumed innocent until found 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.