SAN JUAN — The Coast Guard Cutter Joseph Tezanos repatriated 36 Dominicans to a Dominican Republic Navy vessel Friday, 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 the first illegal voyage consisting of a 25-foot makeshift boat Thursday, which the aircrew of a Customs and Border Protection Air and Marine multi-role enforcement aircraft detected in waters northwest of Aguadilla, Puerto Rico. Following the interdiction, the cutter safely embarked 15 males and two females from the makeshift boat including two minors.
During a second illegal voyage Thursday, the Coast Guard Cutter Joseph Tezanos interdicted a 26-foot makeshift boat, which the aircrew of a Coast Guard HC-144 Ocean Sentry aircraft detected it in waters north of Punta Cana, Dominican Republic. Following the interdiction, the cutter crew safely embarked 19 men and a woman from the makeshift boat.
Each of the interdicted groups were transferred to a Dominican Republic Navy vessel Friday morning for their return to the Dominican Republic.
“The Coast Guard’s resolve, and that of our partner agencies, to stop illegal voyages at sea is unwavering,” said Capt. José E. Díaz, commander of Sector San Juan. “To anyone thinking of taking part in an illegal voyage, we urge you to not to take to the sea! Makeshift, unseaworthy vessels are often grossly overloaded and unstable with no lifesaving equipment onboard, changing sea-state conditions, hypothermia, dehydration and drowning are just some of the dangers migrants face in these voyages. Those who are caught will most likely be returned to their country of origin. Do not risk your life.”
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-U.S. citizens including 1,414 Dominicans, 404 Haitians, 01 Cuban, 1 Ecuadorian, 52 Venezuelan, 12 Uzbek, and 35 of unknown nationalities.
Cutter Joseph Tezanos is a 154-foot fast response cutter homeported in San Juan, Puerto Rico.
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 migrant and drug smuggling.