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    59 Migrants Sent Back to Dominican Republic After Coast Guard Intercepts 2 Vessels

    59 Migrants Sent Back to Dominican Republic After Coast Guard Intercepts 2 Vessels

    U.S. maritime authorities repatriated 59 migrants to the Dominican Republic on Thursday following the interception of two overloaded vessels in Mona Passage, which connects the Atlantic Ocean to the Sea, earlier this week.

    The first incident happened on Tuesday when an aircrew aboard a surveillance aircraft detected a suspicious vessel approximately 15 nautical miles (17.2 miles) of Mona Island, Puerto Rico.

    The vessel was then intercepted by the crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Confidence who embarked 42 adult migrants, all of whom claimed to be Dominican Republican nationals.

    The following day another suspect vessel was detected. This time, a Customs and Border Protection aircraft located the vessel in waters northwest of Aguadilla, Puerto Rico.

    The vessel was stopped by officials and members of the Puerto Rico Police Forces of Rapid Action. USCGC Heriberto Hernandez arrived later and embarked the group of 17 migrants, all of whom also claimed to be Dominicans, authorities said.

    On Thursday, the crew of the USCGC Cutter Heriberto Hernandez transported all 59 adults to Dominican Republic territorial waters, “where the repatriation of the migrants was completed to a Dominican Republic Navy vessel just off Puna Cana,” the Coast Guard said in a news release.

    Thursday's repatriations come just days after another interdiction of a smuggling vessel in Mona Passage.

    Last Sunday, the crew of the…

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