The U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Joseph Napier repatriated 74 Dominicans Republic nationals and returned eight Haitians to a Dominican Republic Navy vessel Tuesday afternoon.
It followed three separate illegal voyage interdictions in Mona Passage waters off Puerto Rico.
According to a Coast Guard release, the interdictions resulted from ongoing local and federal multi-agency efforts supporting the Caribbean Border Interagency Group CBIG.
“The Coast Guard actively patrols Mona Passage waters daily alongside our partners in the Caribbean Border Interagency Group partners to stop illegal smuggling vessels at sea and safeguard human lives,” said Capt. José E. Díaz, Coast Guard Sector San Juan commander.
“We urge anyone thinking of taking part in an illegal voyage to not take to the sea! These voyages are dangerous; you will be putting your life at risk in the hands of smugglers who are capable of embarking you aboard grossly overloaded makeshift vessels with no lifesaving equipment and abandoning you in some very harsh conditions and dangerous environments,” Díaz warned.
Between October 1, 2021, and September 30, 2022, the Coast Guard carried out 88 illegal voyage interdictions in the Mona Passage and waters near Puerto Rico.
During that time, Coast Guard personnel interdicted 2,273 non-U.S. citizens.
They included 1,705 Dominicans, 444 Haitians, four Cubans, two Ecuadorians, 67 Venezuelans, 12 Uzbeks, two Iranians, one Colombian, one Spaniard and 35 of unknown nationalities