San Juan, Puerto Rico - Carlos Bautista and Raúl Pérez-Cuevas, citizens of the Dominican Republic, were arrested Sunday by agents of US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) attempting to illegally enter the island via the coast of Cabo Rojo.
The defendants appeared late yesterday before federal District Magistrate Judge Camille Velez-Rive facing charges for violation of immigration law after attempting to enter illegally into the island.
Mr. Bautista faces charges for attempting to re-enter the US after a previous deportation.
Mr. Perez-Cuevas faces charges for attempting to enter the US at any time or place other than as designated by immigration officers.
The defendants were intercepted 8 nautical miles off the coast of Cabo Rojo by a PR Police FURA vessel, traveling east on a "yola" towards the island.
According to protocol of the Caribbean Border Interagency Group (CBIG), the two subjects were transferred to US Coast Guard Cutter Key Largo for biometric processing and Border Patrol led immigration interviews.
During the interview, the defendants admitted that they were attempting to further their entry into the United States.
The custody of both defendants was transferred to Border Patrol Agents via the Port of Mayaguez, who were taken to the Border Patrol Station in Ramey, Aguadilla, for verification of prior immigration history.
Mr. Bautista's records revealed that an Immigration Judge had ordered his removal from San Juan on February 12, 2009.
The Border Patrol Prosecutions unit presented the case for consideration of the Immigration Unit of the US Attorney's Office for the District of Puerto Rico.
Special Assistant United States Attorney Russell Booker III will prosecute the case.
Mr. Bautista faces a fine, a term of imprisonment not more than 2 years, or both.
Mr. Perez-Cuevas faces a fine, a term of imprisonment not more than 6 months, or both.
All defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty by a court of law.
About the Caribbean Border Interagency Group (CBIG):
The concept of CBIG resulted from a March 2006 collaboration of local Homeland Security components that effectively stemmed the increased flow of traffic across the Mona Passage between the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico. In July 2006, CBIG is organized of such agencies as U.S. Customs and Border Protection (with its three operational components Border Patrol, Field Operations and Air & Marine Operations), Immigration and Customs Enforcement, U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Puerto Rico and the Puerto Rico Police Department's Joint Forces for Rapid Action (FURA, for its Spanish Acronym).
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.