SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – Twenty-eight Dominicans were repatriated and five Haitian migrants were returned to the Dominican Republic by the U.S. Coast Guard after two separate at-sea interdictions Friday and Sunday.
According to the Coast Guard, on Sunday a 20-foot wooden boat was found carrying 16 men and two women approximately 50 nautical miles northwest of Aguidilla, Puerto Rico.
Five Dominican men were transferred to Mayaguez, Puerto Rico, and were expected to be charged and prosecuted in federal court. The remaining 13 Dominican migrants were returned by a Dominican Republic Navy patrol boat to the Dominican Republic.
The Coast Guard said on Friday a 30-foot wooden boat with 15 Dominicans and five Haitians was found approximately 26 nautical miles northeast of La Vacama, Dominican Republic. All of the migrants on the boat were returned via Dominican Republic Navy patrol boat to the Dominican Republic.
“The swift response, close coordination and collaboration between the Coast Guard, Customs and Border Protection and Dominican Republic Navy crews helped save 20 lives,” said Cmdr. Heather Kelly, sector San Juan chief of response. “These migrants are very fortunate to have survived the perilous Mona Passage aboard a grossly overloaded makeshift vessel with no life saving equipment onboard.”