SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Donald Horsley (WPC-1117) repatriated 44 Dominican migrants and transferred them to Dominican naval authorities June 28 in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, following the interdiction of two illegal migrant voyages June 25 and 26 in the Mona Passage, the Coast Guard 7th District said in a June 28 release.
Six other migrants interdicted in both voyages are facing possible federal prosecution in Puerto Rico on charges of attempted illegal re-entry into the United States.
The interdictions are the result of ongoing efforts in support of Operation Unified Resolve, Operation Caribbean Guard and the Caribbean Border Interagency Group (CBIG). Since October 2018, the Coast Guard and CBIG federal and state partner agencies have interdicted over 1,573 migrants at sea near Puerto Rico and the U.S. Islands.
The first interdiction took place the night of June 25 after the crew of a Customs and Border Protection DHC-8 maritime patrol aircraft detected a 25-foot migrant boat transiting toward Puerto Rico, approximately 17 nautical miles north-northwest of Aguadilla, Puerto Rico.
Coast Guard watchstanders in Sector San Juan diverted the cutter Donald Horsley to interdict the suspect vessel. Upon arriving on scene, the Donald Horsley crew stopped the blue makeshift boat with 25 Dominican migrants aboard — 19 men and five women, and a 16-year-old boy. Horsley crewmembers proceeded to embark all the migrants from the makeshift boat.
The crew of the DHC-8 maritime patrol aircraft detected a second illegal migrant voyage on the night of June 26, approximately nine nautical miles north of Mona Island.
Coast Guard watchstanders in Sector San Juan diverted the cutter Donald Horsley to interdict the suspect vessel. Upon arriving on scene, the Donald Horsley crew stopped the 35-foot blue fiberglass boat with 25 adult Dominican migrants aboard — 20 men and five women. Horsley crewmembers embarked all the migrants for safety of life at sea.
Once aboard a Coast Guard cutter, all migrants receive food, water, shelter and basic medical attention.
“I am extremely proud of the crew of cutter Donald Horsley for their tremendous efforts which culminated in the interdiction of 50 migrants during two different cases this week,” said Lt. Christopher Martin, Coast Guard Cutter Donald Horsley commanding officer. “These illicit ventures put migrants in extremely dangerous situations at sea and our crew along with our other DHS partners did an excellent job detecting and intercepting these vessels to stem the flow of illegal migration to Puerto Rico and ensure the safety of all the migrants involved in these voyages.”
The cutter Donald Horsley transferred custody of the six migrants facing federal prosecution to Ramey Sector Border Patrol agents in Mayaguez, Puerto Rico.
The CBIG unifies efforts between 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. These agencies share a common goal of securing the maritime border of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands against illegal migrant and drug smuggling threats.
The cutter Donald Horsley is a 154-foot fast-response cutter homeported in San Juan, Puerto Rico.