Dominican Republic nationals charged for smuggling 43 Haitians into Mona Island, Puerto RicoSunday, October 24, 2021
SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (CMC) — The United States Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agency says four men from the Dominican Republic appeared before the US District Court here, where they faced criminal charges after the US Border Patrol agents arrested them for transporting 43 Haitian migrants into Mona Island, Puerto Rico.
Subsequently, the US Border Patrol has issued a warning about the danger of crossing the Mona Passage and leaving migrants on the inhospitable Mona Island.
“We will continue to pursue criminal prosecution for anyone smuggling non-citizens into the United States,” said Xavier Morales, Chief Patrol Agent at the Ramey Sector. “Bringing non-citizens into Mona Island is a serious crime and puts lives at risk. We will bring the smugglers to justice.”
“By narrowing immigration channels, more people seek the help of smugglers, who endanger the lives and integrity of migrants in their increasingly risky efforts to bypass border controls,” Morales added.
According to the CBP — Carlos Javier Lopez, Josue Elias Robles, Jonathan Garcia and Mauricio Sosa Belen appeared before US Magistrate Judges Marcos E Lopez and Marshal D Morgan for their initial hearings.
They are charged with violating Title 8, United States Code, Section 1324, for “bringing in and harbouring migrants,” CBP said.
A Coast Guard cutter transported the group to the Mayaguez Port, where Border Patrol took custody of the group for processing.
If convicted, CBP said the defendants face up to 20 years imprisonment, a fine of up to US$250,000, or both.