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Coast Guard Takes 24 Dominican Nationals Back Home After Detecting Illegal Voyage

SAN JUAN — The Coast Guard Cutter Joseph Napier’s crew repatriated 24 Dominicans to the Dominican Republic, Wednesday, following the interdiction of an illegal voyage west of Aguadilla.

The interdictions are the result of ongoing local and federal multi-agency efforts in support of the Caribbean Border Interagency Group CBIG.

“These interdictions highlight the professionalism, commitment and unwavering resolve of the Coast Guard and our Caribbean Border Interagency Group partners in safeguarding the maritime border of Puerto Rico,” said Cmdr. Beau Powers, Sector San Juan chief of response. “We continue to implore anyone thinking about taking part in an illegal voyage that they not take to the sea! It is just not worth it, not only would you be putting your life at risk, but the life of everyone else if the voyage.  You are also risking federal prosecution for attempting to enter illegally into the United States.”

During a routine patrol Sunday, the aircrew of a Customs and Border Protection Marine Enforcement Aircraft detected the illegal voyage in the Caribbean Sea 18 miles west of Aguadilla. Following the sighting, the Coast Guard Cutter Joseph Napier interdicted a 30-foot smuggling vessel and safely embarked 25 persons. All the passengers claimed to be Dominican Republic nationals. 

The cutter Joseph Napier repatriated 24 individuals from this voyage Wednesday, while one Dominican Republic national remains in custody facing federal prosecution on charges of attempted illegal reentry into the United States.

Family members in the United States inquiring about possible family members interdicted at sea, please contact your local U.S. representative. Relatives located outside the United States please contact your local U.S. Embassy.

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 migration and drug smuggling.

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The Author

John McCarthy

John McCarthy

John McCarthy is primarily known for his investigative reporting on the U.S. Virgin Islands. A series of reports beginning in the 1990's revealed that there was everything from coliform bacteria to Cryptosporidium in locally-bottled St. Croix drinking water, according to a then-unpublished University of the Virgin Islands sampling. Another report, following Hurricane Hugo in 1989, cited a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) confidential overview that said that over 40 percent of the U.S. Virgin Islands public lives below the poverty line. The Virgin Islands Free Press is the only Caribbean news source to regularly incorporate the findings of U.S. Freedom of Information Act requests. John's articles have appeared in the BVI Beacon, St. Croix Avis, San Juan Star and Virgin Islands Daily News. He is the former news director of WSVI-TV Channel 8 on St. Croix.

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