Caribbean Air and Marine Branch Crews and Partners Disrupt Human Smuggling Attempt

Release Date: December 16, 2020

AGUADILLA, Puerto Rico—Caribbean Air and Marine Branch (CAMB) crews, federal, and local law enforcement partners disrupted a human smuggling attempt near Puerto Rico on December 10, resulting in the apprehension, and repatriation, of 15 individuals.

On December 10, a Caribbean-based DHC-8 aircrew on patrol detected suspicious single-engine yola-type vessel operating without navigational lights off the coast of Puerto Rico. The MPA crew maintained surveillance and vectored in two Puerto Rico Police Department (PRPD) Marine Unit (FURA) crews to interdict. Local marine authorities apprehended 15 individuals and seized the vessel.

Local authorities contacted the United States Coast Guard (USCG) to assist. The crew of the USCG cutter Joseph Doyle safely embarked 15 individuals after providing them with lifejackets, food, water, shelter, and basic medical attention. Later, the cutter Joseph Doyle transferred 15 people to the cutter Robert Yered for transport and repatriation to a Dominican Republic Navy vessel.

Air and Marine Operations safeguards our Nation by anticipating and confronting security threats through our aviation and maritime law enforcement expertise, innovative capabilities, and partnerships at the border and beyond. With approximately 1,800 federal agents and mission support personnel, 240 aircraft and 300 marine vessels operating throughout the United States, Puerto Rico, and U.S. Virgin Islands, AMO serves as the nation’s experts in airborne and maritime law enforcement.

In Fiscal Year 2020, AMO enforcement actions resulted in the seizure or disruption of 194,220 pounds of cocaine, 278,492 pounds of marijuana, 15,985 pounds of methamphetamine, 952 weapons and $51.5 million, 1,066 arrests, 47,872 apprehensions of illegal aliens. The Caribbean Air and Marine Branch seized 39,683 pounds of narcotics and $12 million in currency.

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