Two Undocumented Men to be charged for attempting to Smuggle Migrants into Puerto Rico
2 other men to be prosecuted for attempted re-entry after a prior removal; 28 undocumented migrants were apprehended over the weekend
SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – Four citizens of the Dominican Republic will be prosecuted under US immigration law, after Customs and Border Protection (CBP), Puerto Rico Police Joint Forces for Rapid Action (FURA, for its Spanish acronym) and the Coast Guard intervened and apprehended 13 undocumented Dominican Republic immigrants on Monday.
On Sunday May 10, a group of 15 Cuban undocumented migrants reached Mona Island and were processed in Aguadilla according to immigration statuses.
Alberto Coplin-Mercedes and Felix Manuel Guzman-Ramos, will appear today in US District Court on charges of attempting to bring into the island United States (not a huge deal, but technically that is the charge) undocumented aliens; and Marcos Rafael Contreras-Rosario and Frank Kelly Guerrero-Diaz, will appear on charges of attempting to re-enter the country after a previous removal. All defendants will appear today before US Magistrate Judge Marcos E. Lopez.
“Our collective resolve is to be able to arrest and prosecute migrant smugglers who have complete disregard for undocumented immigrants they transport,” stated Ramiro Cerrillo, Chief Patrol Agent for the Ramey Border Patrol Sector.
On May 11, 2015 a CBP Border Patrol agent patrolling with a Puerto Rico Police Maritime Unit detected and intercepted a vessel 1 mile west of Rincon.
The makeshift wooden 23 foot vessel, white and blue in color, powered by a single 75 horsepower engine, had 13 undocumented migrants, all claiming to be citizens and nationals of the Dominican Republic and reported to be in good health.
The migrants were transferred to the US Coast Guard cutter Drummond for biometric processing.
The Ramey Border Patrol Prosecutions unit presented the case to USCG Assistant US Attorney Glenn Goetchius who accepted the case.
If convicted, Alberto Coplin-Mercedes and Felix Manuel Guzman-Ramos could be fined, imprisoned not more than 10 years or both. In the case of Marcos Rafael Contreras-Rosario and Frank Kelly Guerrero-Diaz, if convicted could be fined, imprisoned not more than 20 and 10 years respectively or both.
All defendants are presumed innocent until found guilty in a court of law.
During the fiscal year 2015 (October 1 to September 30), the Ramey Border Patrol Sector has apprehended 381 undocumented migrants; 156 Cubans, 97 Dominicans, and 128 Haitians.
The Administration’s recent announcement regarding Cuba does not signify a change in the current immigration policy toward Cuba, under the 1995 amendment of the Cuban Adjustment Act of 1966. CBP maintains a robust posture regarding the enforcement of our immigration laws along the nation’s borders and coastal areas, and Coast Guard cutters aggressively patrol the Caribbean and Florida Straits to interdict migrants traveling from Cuba to the United States by water.
The Caribbean Border Interagency Group (CBIG) was formally created to unify efforts of the Customs and Border Protection, Coast Guard, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the United States Attorney's Office for the District of Puerto Rico, and Puerto Rico Police Joint Rapid Action Forces (FURA, for its Spanish acronym), in their common goal of securing the Puerto Rico and U.S. Virgin Islands borders against illegal migrant and drug smuggling.
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.