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Coast Guard Catches 15 Illegal Migrants Near Aguadilla, Takes Them Back To The Dominican Republic

SAN JUAN — The U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Robert Yered repatriated 15 migrants to the Dominican Republic Saturday afternoon, following the interdiction of an illegal voyage just off Aguadilla, Puerto Rico.

The interdicted migrants claimed to be Dominican Republic nationals.

The interdiction is the result of ongoing multiagency efforts in support of Operation Caribbean Guard and the Caribbean Border Interagency Group (CBIG).

“Working closely with our partners in the Caribbean Border Interagency Group and Puerto Rico Police Joint Forces of Rapid Action we are more efficient in stopping these illegal voyages at sea,” Cmdr. Beau Power, Sector San Juan chief of response, said.  “The inherent dangers of migrant smuggling puts migrant lives at great risk.  Not only do smugglers show no regard for their wellbeing, but the nature and condition of these makeshift vessels, most often unseaworthy, grossly overloaded and continuously taking on water, could cause them to break apart, capsize or sink at any point during the voyage.”

Coast Guard watchstanders in Sector San Juan received notification from Puerto Rico Police Joint Forces of Rapid Action late Thursday night reporting that two of their marine units interdicted and were on scene with a 20-foot migrant vessel, approximately three nautical miles north of Aguadilla, Puerto Rico.  Watchstanders diverted the cutter Joseph Doyle to assist.

Once on scene with the migrant vessel, the crew of the cutter Joseph Doyle safely embarked 14 men and a woman.  The Joseph Doyle crew provided the migrants with lifejackets before embarking them aboard the cutter.  Once aboard, they received food, water, shelter and basic medical attention.

The cutter Joseph Doyle later rendezvoused with cutter Robert Yered and transferred the migrants for their transport and repatriation to a Dominican Republic Navy vessel just off Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.

Cutters Joseph Doyle and Robert Yered are fast response cutters respectively homeported in San Juan, Puerto Rico and Miami.

Operation Caribbean Guard is a Department of Homeland Security multi-agency law enforcement operation to support ongoing efforts in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands being executed under the San Juan Regional Coordinating Mechanism (SJ ReCoM)/Caribbean Border Interagency Group (CBIG).

CBIG was formally created to unify efforts of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Puerto Rico and Puerto Rico Police Joint Forces of Rapid Action, in their common goal of securing the borders of Puerto Rico against illegal migrant and drug smuggling.

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