Photo: Yolas Used for Illegal Immigration
Caribbean Border Interagency Group (CBIG) federal law enforcement authorities intercepted a single engine yola type vessel with 14 undocumented citizens of the Dominican Republic.
U.S. Coast Guard Sector San Juan Watchstanders were contacted by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agents Friday morning, who reported that the crew of a CBP maritime patrol aircraft had located a migrant vessel transiting from the Dominican Republic towards the west coast of Puerto Rico.
CBP and Puerto Rico Police Department marine units responded, interdicted the migrant vessel and embarked the migrants from the makeshift wooden yola (boat).
The migrants were transferred shortly thereafter to the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Matinicus for processing to determine if they had any previous criminal or illegal immigration history in the U.S.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Puerto Rico agreed to prosecute seven other Dominicans, who were also traveling aboard the migrant vessel, of which five are to face charges for illegal entry and two others for illegal reentry into a United States Territory.
People who venture to enter into a U.S. territory not only risk becoming victim of criminal organizations but can also be exposed to the inconvenience of a formal administrative processing and arrest by CBP agents or officers.