63 migrants crammed into rustic wooden boat intercepted, 5 who'd been deported for felonies arrested

63 migrants crammed into rustic wooden boat intercepted, 5 who’d been deported for felonies arrested

(As originally published, Tue, December 5th 2023, 6:11 PM EST)

AGUADILLA, Puerto Rico (TND) — Authorities intercepted a “yola”-type vessel with 63 undocumented migrants on board and stopped them from entering Puerto Rico.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection said the boat — with “48 males and 6 females from the Dominican Republic, and 8 males and 1 female from Haiti” — had been “navigating east towards the southwestern coast of Puerto Rico” on Friday.

It was trying to make the 80-mile trip from the Dominican Republic

“A voyage on a ‘yola’ is dangerous when boarding a rustic wooden boat, which takes on water during the journey,” Creighton Skeen, Director of Air and Marine Operations in the Caribbean, explained. “These unseaworthy vessels are only fitted with a single engine; they usually try to cross the sea overloaded and without life vests.”

Border Patrol agents took the group to the Ramey Border Patrol station for immigration processing and removal.

63 migrants crammed into rustic wooden boat intercepted, 5 who'd been deported for felonies arrested
This “yola”-type vessel with 63 undocumented migrants on board had been “navigating east towards the southwestern coast of Puerto Rico” when it was intercepted on Friday, Dec. 1, 2023. (U.S. Customs & Border Protection)

During that process, they found five people who’d been deported after they were convicted of “aggravated felonies” in the U.S. Their crimes included manslaughter, assault, and narcotics trafficking. Those five will be prosecuted for re-entry of a previously deported non-citizen.

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