SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – Five illegal aliens from the Dominican Republic appeared today before a U.S. District Court Judge facing charges of violation of federal immigration laws.
Last Thursday, a U.S. Customs and Border Protection(CBP) aircraft located a 25-foot wooden makeshift vessel, while patrolling waters approximately five nautical miles southwest of Mona Island, Puerto Rico. A marine unit from CBP Office of Air and Marine intercepted the vessel, finding 22 aliens on board.
The aliens were transfered to the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) Cutter Ocracoke, approximately 20 nautical miles west of Mayaguez, Puerto Rico, and safely embarked 18 men and four women. The USCG processed the individuals and discovered five of the subjects had prior immigration violations. The five suspects were turned over to the custody of the U.S. Border Patrol.
Border Patrol Agents in Aguadilla interviewed all five subjects and ran record checks on them. The checks revealed that all five subjects have previous immigration encounters with federal authorities. Two defendants, Joel Caraballo-Correa and Ramon Baez-Ramirez, are previously removed aggravated felons who face charges of attempting to re-enter the United States. Pedro Cordero-Febles, Zerny Antonia Nin-Vargas and Eugenio Ventura-Castro face charges of attempting to enter the United States at a place not designated as a port of entry
The Border Patrol presented the cases to the Immigration Unit of the United States Attorney’s Office in San Juan, who accepted the cases for prosecution.
This case demonstrates a joint working effort by federal agencies on the island to secure operational control against illegal aliens who attempt to penetrate U.S. borders. As the U.S. Border Patrol scales up enforcement and interdiction efforts, it relies on inter agency cooperation to enforce immigration and criminal law in United State’s coastal borders.