CNW- United States Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agency said it collaborated with US Coast Guard and other law enforcement partners in rescuing 68 Haitian migrants after smugglers dropped them off near the shores of Mona Island, Puerto Rico.
CBP said five other Haitian migrants died during the smuggling event.
“Transnational criminal organizations continue to recklessly endanger the lives of individuals they smuggle for their own financial gain with no regard for human life,” said Scott Garrett, Acting Chief Patrol Agent for the Ramey Sector of the US Border Patrol.
“Smuggling organizations are abandoning migrants in remote and dangerous areas, leading to a rise in the number of rescues, but also tragically a rise in the number of deaths,” he added.
CBP said authorities recovered five bodies from the water and reported that there were 68 survivors (41 males, 25 females, and two minors) who came safely ashore.
The multi-agency effort included the US Border Patrol, Air and Marine Operations, Office of Field Operations, US Coast Guard, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Homeland Security Investigations, Puerto Rico Police Department, Puerto Rico Department of Natural Resources, and other police department municipalities.
CBP said Coast Guard Cutters Joseph Tezanos, and Joseph Napier transported the group to the Mayaguez Port of Entry where border patrol agents assumed custody of the migrants.
Border patrol, along with Operation Stonegarden partners, transported the group to Ramey Sector in Aguadilla, Puerto Rico, CBP said.
It said Ramey Sector’s Border Patrol station will process the group of migrants under US immigration law.