An official website of the United States government
Here's how you know
A .mil website belongs to an official U.S. Department of Defense organization in the United States.
A lock (lock ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .mil website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

Press Release | April 13, 2023

Coast Guard returns 49 migrants to the Dominican Republic following illegal voyage interdiction in the Mona Passage

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico - The Coast Guard Cutter Richard Dixon repatriated 49 migrants to the Dominican Republic between Wednesday and Thursday, following the interdiction of an illegal voyage vessel in Mona Passage waters near Puerto Rico.

The interdiction is the result of ongoing local and federal multi-agency efforts in support of the Caribbean Border Interagency Group, CBIG.

During a routine patrol Tuesday night, the aircrew of a Coast Guard HC-144 Ocean Sentry aircraft detected a 35-foot makeshift boat, approximately 80 nautical miles northwest of Aguadilla, Puerto Rico. Coast Guard watch standers in Sector San Juan diverted the Coast Guard Cutter Richard Dixon.  Once on scene, cutter Richard Dixon interdicted the vessel and safely embarked 41 men, six women and two minors.

The migrants include one Albanian, seven Kazakhstan, six Haitian and 35 Dominican Republic nationals who were returned to a Dominican Republic Navy vessel just off the Dominican Republic. Three minors in this group, two Haitian and a Dominican national, were transferred to the Children and Adolescents National Council (CONANI) representatives in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic.

“Illegal maritime migrant ventures are inherently dangerous and pose significant safety risks to all involved,” said Lt. Nicholas Rogers, cutter Richard Dixon commanding officer.  This evolution demonstrated excellent coordination between responding units to affect a safe disembarkation of all 49 persons.”

Since Oct. 1, 2022, through March 31, 2023, the Coast Guard has carried out 25 illegal voyage interdictions in the Mona Passage and waters near Puerto Rico.  Interdicted during this period, are 777 non-U.S. citizens including 568 Dominicans, 195 Haitians, 13 Venezuelans and 01 unknown nationality.

Cutter Richard Dixon is a 154-foot fast response cutter homeported in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Family members in the United States inquiring about possible family members interdicted at sea, please contact your local U.S. representative. Relatives located outside the United States please contact your local U.S. Embassy.

CBIG was formally created to unify efforts of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Puerto Rico, and Puerto Rico Police Joint Forces of Rapid Action, in their common goal of securing the borders of Puerto Rico against illegal migrant and drug smuggling.