SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – The Coast Guard Cutter repatriated 60 Dominicans and returned three Haitians to the Dominican Republic between Friday and Saturday, following the interdiction of two separate illegal voyages in Mona Passage waters near Puerto Rico.
The interdictions are the result of ongoing local and federal multi-agency efforts in support of the Caribbean Border Interagency Group CBIG.
The Coast Guard Cutter Joseph Tezanos interdicted a 30-foot makeshift boat Friday afternoon that was initially detected by the aircrew of a Customs and Border Protection Air and Marine multi-role enforcement aircraft in waters northwest of Aguadilla, Puerto Rico. Following the interdiction, cutter Joseph Tezanos’ crew safely embarked 33 men and three women from the makeshift boat, including two who were pregnant.
The Coast Guard Cutter Joseph Doyle interdicted a 30-foot makeshift boat that was hiding under a blue tarp Thursday night, after the aircrew of a Coast Guard HC-144B Ocean Sentry aircraft detected the suspect vessel in waters northwest of Mona Island, Puerto Rico. Following the interdiction, cutter Joseph Doyle’s crew safely embarked 27 men, including three Haitians from the makeshift boat.
Both interdicted groups were transferred to a Dominican Republic Navy vessel for their return to the Dominican Republic.
“Interdicting illegal voyages in the Mona Passage requires precise coordination and rapid response efforts from all partner agencies that safeguard Puerto Rico’s coast against illicit trafficking,” said Capt. José Diaz, Coast Guard Sector San Juan commander.
“Thanks to these efforts, 63 persons were saved from the dangers of grossly overloaded makeshift vessels that had little or no life-saving equipment onboard. Illegal voyages may turn deadly without notice, and we call those considering taking part in one that they not take to the sea, it may save their lives.”
Since October 1, 2021 through June 30, 2022, the Coast Guard has carried out 72 illegal voyage interdictions in the Mona Passage and waters near Puerto Rico. Interdicted during this period, are 1,919 non-US citizens including 1,414 Dominicans, 404 Haitians, 01 Cuban, 1 Ecuadorian, 52 Venezuelan, 12 Uzbek, and 35 of unknown nationalities.