Nearly 2,300 people have been apprehended trying to enter Puerto Rico illegally by sea in past year
By The Star Staff
U.S. Coast Guard personnel repatriated 47 Dominican nationals who attempted to reach Puerto Rico illegally through the Mona Passage last Saturday.
Two Dominican citizens are facing federal charges for attempted smuggling in the incident.
During a routine patrol on Saturday afternoon, one of the Coast Guard vessels reportedly spotted and intercepted a blue boat 12 nautical miles southwest of Desecheo. The vessel began to take on water in pursuit, and 46 men and three women were rescued.
“The vessel was grossly overloaded and taking on water in unfavorable conditions,” said Capt. José Díaz, commander of the Coast Guard’s San Juan area, in a written statement. “Fortunately, our team was able to rescue them and prevent a greater misfortune.”
From Oct. 1, 2021, through Sept. 30, 2022, the Coast Guard has intervened with 88 illegal trips in the Mona Passage and other waters near Puerto Rico. In that period, 2,273 people (1,705 Dominicans, 444 Haitians, 67 Venezuelans, four Cubans, two Ecuadorians, 12 Uzbeks, two Iranians, one Colombian, one Spaniard, and 35 of unknown nationality) have attempted to reach Puerto Rico illegally.