The United States has returned 10 Haitian migrants to the Dominican Republic after intercepting a boat in the Mona Passage waters near Mona Island, Puerto Rico, earlier this week.
Two other men, Dominican Republic nationals, are facing US federal criminal prosecution in Puerto Rico on migrant smuggling charges, the US Coast Guard said.
It said the interdiction is the result of ongoing local and federal multi-agency efforts in support of the Caribbean Border Interagency Group (CBIG).
”For those considering taking part in an illegal migrant voyage across the Mona Passage, don’t take to the sea,” warned Capt. Gregory H. Magee, Coast Guard Sector San Juan commander.
“You will be repatriated and returned to your country of origin or could even face possible prosecution. This is a dangerous and perilous voyage, and it is just not worth placing your life in the hands of smugglers who have no regard for your safety or well-being. These voyages most often take place in dangerous sea states, aboard grossly overloaded and unseaworthy vessels that have no lifesaving equipment.”
The Coast Guard said that during a routine patrol of the Mona Passage the crew of a US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Marine Enforcement Aircraft detected a suspect illegal migrant vessel voyage about five nautical miles west of Mona Island, Puerto Rico.
The vessel was transporting nine men and three females, including two adult women and a 15-year-old minor, the US Coast Guard said.