San Juan, Puerto Rico - Three citizens of the Dominican Republic appeared today before the U.S. District Court after their arrest by CBP Border Patrol agents for attempting to illegally, re-enter the island.
The defendants, Luis Lopez-Santana, Jose Castro-Perez and Jose Reyes-Reyes appeared this morning before federal District Magistrate Judge Camille Velez-Rive facing charges for violation of immigration law after attempting to enter illegally onto the island.
Castro-Perez and Reyes-Reyes face charges for attempting to illegally, re-enter the U.S. after a previous deportation.
Lopez-Santana faces charges for attempting to illegally, enter the U.S. at a time or place other than as designated by immigration officers.
The defendants were intercepted 16-nautical-miles south of Mona Island by the U.S. Coast Guard cutter Cushing, while traveling east on a 15-foot-long 'yola' toward the island.
According to the prosecutorial guidelines established by the Caribbean Border Interagency Group (CBIG), all six subjects onboard the vessel were transferred to the cutter for biometric processing and Border Patrol agents led immigration interviews.
During the interviews, the defendants admitted that they were attempting to further their entry into the United States.
CBP Border Patrol agents arrested the three defendants with prior records and they were transported to the Ramey Border Patrol Station in Aguadilla. The Coast Guard repatriated the remaining three aliens to the Dominican Republic.
The Border Patrol Prosecutions unit presented the case for consideration by the Immigration Unit of the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Puerto Rico.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Russell Booker III will prosecute the case.
Castro-Perez and Reyes-Reyes face a fine, a term of imprisonment not more than two years, or both.
Mr. Lopez-Santana faces a fine, a term of imprisonment not more than six months, 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.