Coast Guard Captures Alleged Murderer; Transfers Custody to U.S. Marshals

The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Heriberto Hernandez interdicts a makeshift boat with three Dominican Republic nationals in the Mona Passage Jan. 5, 2021. One of the men was a fugitive with a standing warrant for an alleged murder who was transferred to the custody of U.S. Marshals agents in Mayaguez, Puerto Rico Jan. 7. U.S. Coast Guard photo

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Heriberto Hernandez transferred custody of a man wanted for an alleged murder to the U.S. Marshals Jan. 7 in Mayaguez, Puerto Rico, following the interdiction of a makeshift vessel in Mona Passage waters near Puerto Rico. 

Gustavo Guerrero-Reyes, 37, was arrested on an outstanding Puerto Rico state warrant, following his apprehension while traveling aboard a makeshift boat with two other men, whom all claimed to be Dominican Republic Nationals.  

The interdiction is the result of ongoing Caribbean Border Interagency Group multiagency efforts in their common goal of securing the borders of Puerto Rico against illegal threats. 

“This case was complex and the crew of the cutter Heriberto Hernandez did an outstanding job interdicting this voyage and working with our partners from U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and the U.S. Marshals, which led to the apprehension of a wanted fugitive with a standing warrant for murder,” said Cmdr. Beau Powers, Sector San Juan chief of response. “This case is a testament to the professionalism of all interdicting agencies in securing and defending the United States’ southeastern border.” 

Coast Guard watchstanders in Sector San Juan received a call Jan. 5 from a CBP Air and Marine Operations (AMO) agent, who reported the crew of an AMO maritime patrol aircraft detected a suspect vessel approximately 37 nautical miles north of Desecheo Island, Puerto Rico. Coast Guard watchstanders diverted the cutter Heriberto Hernandez to assess the situation.  

Once on scene, the cutter’s over the horizon small boat launched and approached the suspect vessel. The Coast Guard boat crew identified the 22-foot white colored makeshift vessel was of wooden construction, unseaworthy, and had no markings or indication of nationality.  The passengers onboard were also unable to provide a registration for the vessel. 

The crew of the Heriberto Hernandez embarked the three men for safety of life at sea concerns and conducted biometrics processing, which revealed one of the men wanted in connection to a murder allegedly committed in March 2020. 

The cutter Heriberto Hernandez rendezvoused with a Dominican Republic navy patrol boat Jan. 6 just off the Dominican Republic and transferred the two other passengers of the makeshift vessel for their return to the Dominican Republic. 

Cutter Heriberto Hernandez is a 154-foot fast response cutter homeported in Miami and San Juan, Puerto Rico.