US Coast Guard arrests 39 Dominicans on illegal boat trips to Puerto Rico

US Coast Guard reported the arrest of 39 Dominicans who attempted to illegally reach Puerto Rican shores on the evening of 31 December 2017. The US Border Patrol, US Coast Guard and the Puerto Rico Police Department made the arrests during two separate incidents along Puerto Rico’s west coast.

Ramiro Cerrillo, Chief Patrol Agent for the Ramey Border Patrol Sector, stated: “Smugglers continue to have complete disregard for the safety of the people they attempt to bring into the island.”

The US Coast Guard reported the group had reached the southwestern end of the Desecheo Island. The group of 26 adult males, 2 adult females and 2 unaccompanied juvenile males were provided with food, water and blankets and spent the evening in custody. The group was eventually transported to a USCG vessel for processing.

The USCG reported the second smuggling event occurred near Carrizales in the town of Aguada where Border Patrol agents discovered a 22-foot wooden “yola” vessel without an engine or markings and after an extensive search apprehended nine individuals who claimed Dominican nationality and one person who said to be a US citizen. They were taken to Ramey Station for processing.

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3 January 2018