US Coast Guard, Dominican Republic Navy interdiction of illegal migrant voyage leads to arrest of two known smugglers

A Dominican Republic Navy vessel (right) is on scene with a migrant vessel that was interdicted by the US Coast Guard cutter Joseph Doyle on April 20, 2020, in waters south of Isla Saona, Dominican Republic. The migrant vessel was transporting 15 Dominican nationals, including two known smugglers. (Photo: US Coast Guard 7th District/Ricardo Castrodad)

The crew of the US Coast Guard Sentinel-class fast response cutter (FRC) Joseph Doyle and a Dominican Republic Navy vessel combined efforts during an interdiction of an illegal migrant voyage transporting 15 migrants in waters south of Isla Saona, Dominican Republic, on Monday, April 20.

The interdiction, which was part of a joint effort between the US Coast Guard, the Dominican Republic Navy, and US Immigrations and Customs Enforcement – Homeland Security Investigations (ICE-HSI), led to Dominican Republic authorities arresting two individuals who reportedly are associated with human smuggling activities and the organisation of illegal migrant voyages.

During a patrol in the Caribbean Sea on Monday afternoon (local time), the crew of a US Coast Guard HC-144 Ocean Sentry aircraft detected a suspect migrant vessel south of Isla Saona, Dominican Republic. While patrolling nearby waters, Joseph Doyle responded to the sighting and interdicted the seven-metre makeshift vessel that was carrying 13 men and two women of Dominican Republic nationality.

Shortly thereafter, a responding Dominican Republic Navy vessel arrived on scene and its crew took custody of the migrants and towed the interdicted vessel back to the Dominican Republic.

Following the interdiction, Dominican Republic Navy officials informed the coast guard that the two known smugglers were found to be among the interdicted migrants.

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