United States Coast Guard repatriated 44 Dominicans to a ship of the Navy of that country after two vessels trying to illegally reach the west coast of Puerto Rico were intercepted in the Mona Canal.

The US agency reported this Thursday through a statement that the arrests are the result of ongoing efforts with the Puerto Rican authorities in support of the Caribbean Border Interagency Group (CBIG).

"The rapid response and decisive actions of the responding units managed to avoid a possible mass rescue"said Capt. Gregory Magee, commander of the US Coast Guard Sector San Juan.

"Both boats were heavily overloaded and had little or no adequate life-saving equipment on board"said the officer.

The first vessel was intercepted on Monday, after the crew of a Maritime Force Customs and Border Protection aircraft detected a suspicious vessel in transit to Puerto Rico.

After the sighting, Coast Guardsman Joseph Tezanos intercepted the 25-foot vessel and assisted all passengers.

The second vessel was intercepted on Wednesday, after the crew of a Customs and Border Protection aircraft of the Maritime Force detected a suspicious movement in the Mona Passage, a maritime strip that separates the Dominican Republic from Puerto Rico.

The boat intercepted it was adrift and the passengers were constantly drawing water to prevent it from capsizing.

The Coast Guard picked up all the passengers, who received assistance on board.

The federal agencies of the United States insist on asking Dominican citizens to avoid embarking on these types of adventures that pose a serious risk to their security.


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