SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico –US Border Patrol agents presented criminal complaints against three men from the Dominican Republic after they were found inside a makeshift “yola” vessel intercepted by an CBP Marine Unit within the Mona Passage trying to reach Puerto Rico on Sunday.
Jairon Trinidad-Lopez, 40, Elvin Agueda-Simon, 36, and Jesus Bega-Fermin, 40, appeared Thursday before US Magistrate Judge Bruce McGiverin facing charges under title 8 United States Code, Section 1326, for attempting to reenter after a previous deportation for a conviction.
“Our resolve is to be able to bring to justice human smugglers who place migrants in a very dangerous situation by transporting them in unseaworthy vessels,” stated Desi DeLeon, Chief Patrol Agent for Ramey Sector. “We are also prosecuting under title 8 those migrants that have been warned of the consequences of attempting to enter illegally or not requesting authorization to enter the country.”
On Aug. 27, an USCG air asset, spotted a smuggling vessel approximately 10 nautical miles (NM) northwest (NW) of Rincon, Puerto Rico. An CBP Air and Marine Operations unit intercepted the vessel, finding 34 non-citizens on board.
The crew of the USCG Cutter Donald Horsley embarked the 34 subjects and performed biometrics review. Under the Caribbean Border Interagency Group (CBIG) protocols five migrants were found to have prior records or behaved in violation of US law.
The USCG transported the subjects to the Mayaguez Port of Entry where Border Patrol agents took custody of the subjects, placed them under arrest and transported them to Ramey Station for further processing.
The USCG repatriated the remaining 29 non-citizens to the Dominican Republic. Two of the non-citizens brought to shore will be processed under expediated removal.
Special Assistant US Attorney Helena Daniel is prosecuting the case.
If convicted the defendants the maximum penalty that may be imposed is a fine of up to $250,000, a term of imprisonment of up to 20 years, or both.
All defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty by a court of law.
CBIG was formally created to unify efforts of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG), Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), the United States Attorney's Office for the District of Puerto Rico, and Puerto Rico Police Joint Forces of Rapid Action (FURA) in their common goal of securing the borders of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands against illegal migrant and drug smuggling.