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Coast Guard transfers custody of wanted fugitive to U.S. Marshals agents in Puerto Rico, following interdiction of makeshift boat in the Mona Passage

January 11, 2020

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Heriberto Hernandez transferred custody of a man wanted for an alleged murder to the U.S. Marshals Thursday in Mayaguez, Puerto Rico, following the interdiction of a makeshift vessel in Mona Passage waters near Puerto Rico.

Gustavo Guerrero-Reyes, 37, was arrested on an outstanding Puerto Rico state warrant, following his apprehension while traveling aboard a makeshift boat with two other men, whom all claimed to be Dominican Republic Nationals.

The interdiction is the result of ongoing Caribbean Border Interagency Group multiagency efforts in their common goal of securing the borders of Puerto Rico against illegal threats

“This case was complex and the crew of the cutter Heriberto Hernandez did an outstanding job interdicting this voyage and working with our partners from U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and the U.S. Marshals, which led to the apprehension of a wanted fugitive with a standing warrant for murder,” said Cmdr. Beau Powers, Sector San Juan chief of response. “This case is a testament to the professionalism of all interdicting agencies in securing and defending the United States’ southeastern border.”

Coast Guard watchstanders in Sector San Juan received a call Tuesday afternoon from a CBP Air and Marine Operations (AMO) agent, who reported the crew of an AMO maritime patrol aircraft detected a suspect vessel approximately 37 nautical miles north of Desecheo Island, Puerto Rico. Coast Guard watchstanders diverted the cutter Heriberto Hernandez to assess the situation.

Once on scene, the cutter’s Over the Horizon small boat launched and approached the suspect vessel. The Coast Guard boat crew identified the 22-foot white colored makeshift vessel was of wooden construction, unseaworthy, and had no markings or indication of nationality. The passengers onboard were also unable to provide a registration for the vessel.

The crew of the Heriberto Hernandez embarked the three men for Safety of Life at Sea concerns and conducted biometrics processing, which revealed one of the men wanted in connection to a murder allegedly committed in March 2020.

 

December 14, 2020

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — The Coast Guard Cutter Robert Yered repatriated 15 migrants to the Dominican Republic Saturday afternoon, following the interdiction of an illegal voyage just off Aguadilla, Puerto Rico.

The interdicted migrants claimed to be Dominican Republic nationals.

The interdiction is the result of ongoing multiagency efforts in support of Operation Caribbean Guard and the Caribbean Border Interagency Group (CBIG).

“Working closely with our partners in the Caribbean Border Interagency Group and Puerto Rico Police Joint Forces of Rapid Action we are more efficient in stopping these illegal voyages at sea,” said Cmdr. Beau Power, Sector San Juan chief of response. “The inherent dangers of migrant smuggling puts migrant lives at great risk. Not only do smugglers show no regard for their wellbeing, but the nature and condition of these makeshift vessels, most often unseaworthy, grossly overloaded and continuously taking on water, could cause them to break apart, capsize or sink at any point during the voyage.”

Coast Guard watchstanders in Sector San Juan received notification from Puerto Rico Police Joint Forces of Rapid Action late Thursday night reporting that two of their marine units interdicted and were on scene with a 20-foot migrant vessel, approximately three nautical miles north of Aguadilla, Puerto Rico. Watchstanders diverted the cutter Joseph Doyle to assist.

Once on scene with the migrant vessel, the crew of the cutter Joseph Doyle safely embarked 14 men and a woman. The Joseph Doyle crew provided the migrants with lifejackets before embarking them aboard the cutter. Once aboard, they received food, water, shelter and basic medical attention.

The cutter Joseph Doyle later rendezvoused with cutter Robert Yered and transferred the migrants for their transport and repatriation to a Dominican Republic Navy vessel just off Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.

Coast Guard repatriates 12 migrants from illegal voyage, returns two men rescued from a disabled vessel to the Dominican Republic

December 7, 2020

The Coast Guard Cutter Joseph Napier repatriated 12 migrants from an interdicted illegal voyage and transferred two men, who were rescued in a separate case, to a Dominican Republic Navy vessel Monday near Punta Cana, Dominican Republic.

The migrant interdiction is the result of ongoing multiagency efforts in support of Operation Caribbean Guard and the Caribbean Border Interagency Group (CBIG).

“I commend the performance of the Joseph Napier crew in both of these cases,” said Lt. Matthew Miller, cutter Joseph Napier commanding officer. “Their swift and assertive actions ensured the safe transfer of two rescued boaters and 12 migrants to Dominican Republic Navy authorities.”

The migrant interdiction occurred Sunday morning, when the crew of a Puerto Rico Police Joint Forces of Rapid Action marine unit stopped a 35-foot makeshift boat, approximately three and half nautical miles west of Aguadilla. Coast Guard watchstanders diverted the cutter Joseph Napier to assist.

Once on scene, the crew of the cutter Joseph Napier safely embarked 10 men and two women from the grossly overloaded boat. The crew of the Joseph Napier provided the migrants with lifejackets before embarking the Coast Guard cutter, and once they were safely aboard, they received food, water, shelter and basic medical attention.

Later Sunday afternoon, Coast Guard watchstanders in Sector San Juan received a communication from a Good Samaritan aboard the motor vessel Statia Glory, who reported being on scene with a disabled vessel with two people aboard, approximately eight nautical miles south of Mona Island, Puerto Rico. The cutter Joseph Napier diverted and once on scene embarked the two men from the disabled vessel that was taking on water from incoming swells. The men, who claimed to be Dominican Republic nationals, had no life jackets, marine radio or cell phone communications onboard.

Coast Guard ends search for six missing persons following migrant vessel capsizing in the Mona Passage

December 3, 2020.

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — Coast Guard rescue crews ended the search Wednesday night for possible survivors of a capsized migrant boat in the Mona Passage near Desecheo Island, Puerto Rico.

Six persons reportedly remain missing after search efforts revealed no signs of additional survivors or of the reported capsized vessel throughout the search area.

Rescued in this case were three men and a woman, who claimed Dominican Republic nationality. Survivors reported there were 10 people aboard their vessel when it capsized Sunday, as the vessel was transiting as part of an illegal voyage from the Dominican Republic to Puerto Rico.

“Although we may never know the fate of those who reportedly remain missing, we pray for them, their families and loved ones during this most difficult time,” said Capt. Gregory H. Magee, Coast Guard Sector San Juan commander. “Fortunately, four survivors were rescued in this case by Good Samaritans. The survivors were extremely lucky, since they were not wearing lifejackets after being in the water for over 24 hours. To anyone in the Dominican Republic considering taking part in an illegal voyage, do not take to the sea, you are placing your life at risk. These voyages are known to take part aboard unseaworthy vessels, they are continuously taking on water and have little or no lifesaving equipment on board.”

Coast Guard watchstanders at Sector San Juan received a report from the ferry Kydon at 11:05 p.m. Monday reporting they had a visual of multiple persons in the water, approximately eight nautical miles west of Desecheo Island. The Kydon was transiting from Puerto Rico to the Dominican Republic at the time of the sighting. Shortly thereafter, watchstanders received a second report from the ferry informing the Kydon’s crew recovered two survivors from the water.

Coast Guard Sector San Juan watchstanders diverted the Coast Guard Cutter Joseph Napier that arrived on scene and embarked the two survivors from the Kydon. A Coast Guard MH-65 Dolphin helicopter also launched to search and find signs of additional survivors, while Puerto Rico Police Joint Forces of Rapid Action marine units also responded.

The survivors reportedly were not wearing life jackets when rescued and they were showing signs of dehydration and sunburn. The survivors were transferred to Emergency Medical Services personnel in Mayaguez, Puerto Rico, and transported to a local hospital to receive further medical care.

Since Monday, Coast Cutter rescue crews conducted 10 air and six surface searches, while the Dominican Republic Navy vessel Proción also participated in the search, which covered 4,169 square nautical miles within the search area, an area larger than Puerto Rico.

4 survivors of capsized vessel in the Mona Passage, search continues for 6 others

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — Coast Guard rescue crews are searching for possible survivors of a capsized boat in the Mona Passage near Desecheo Island, Puerto Rico.

Rescued are four men while six other persons remain missing, after survivors reported there were ten people aboard when their vessel capsized Sunday. The circumstances of the capsizing remain unclear and are being investigated.

Coast Guard watchstanders at Sector San Juan received a report from the ferry Kydon at 11:05 p.m. Monday reporting they had a visual of multiple persons in the water, approximately eight nautical miles west of Desecheo Island. The Kydon was transiting from Puerto Rico to the Dominican Republic at the time of the sighting. Shortly thereafter, watchstanders received a second report from the ferry informing the Kydon’s crew recovered two survivors from the water.

Coast Guard Sector San Juan watchstanders diverted the Coast Guard Cutter Joseph Napier (WPC-1115) that arrived on scene and embarked the two survivors from the Kydon. A Coast Guard MH-65 Dolphin helicopter also launched to search and find signs of additional survivors, while Puerto Rico Police Joint Forces of Rapid Action marine units also responded.

At 7:54 a.m., Tuesday, Sector San Juan watchstanders received a communication from a Good Samaritan aboard the recreational vessel Kiara reporting having recovered two additional persons from the water. The cutter Joseph Napier rendezvoused with the Kiara and embarked the two survivors.

The survivors reportedly were not be wearing life jackets when rescued and they were showing signs of dehydration and sunburn.

More than 700 Members Of Transnational Organized Crime Groups Arrested in Central America in U.S. Assisted Operation

November 28, 2020

Today, senior law enforcement officials from the United States, El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras announced criminal charges in Central America against more than 700 members of transnational criminal organizations, primarily MS-13 and 18th Street gangs, which resulted from a one-week coordinated law enforcement action under Operation Regional Shield (ORS).

ORS began in 2017 and is a Justice Department-led initiative to combat transnational organized crime that brings together gang prosecutors and investigators from El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico and the United States. Through quarterly meetings, this group has coordinated multi-country investigations and simultaneous takedowns throughout the region.

Authorities also announced the arrest of 36 individuals in El Salvador and Honduras involved in human smuggling networks that span Central America and the United States. Among those arrested in Honduras, include one police commissioner, one police deputy inspector, and three law enforcement agents. All arrestees were charged with human smuggling, money laundering and illegal association to commit a crime. The charges were announced by U.S. Attorney General William P. Barr, Attorney General Raul Melara of El Salvador, Attorney General María Consuelo Porras Argueta of Guatemala, and the Attorney General of Honduras, Oscar Fernando Chinchilla, through the Public Ministry’s Press Office.

“The U.S. Department of Justice and our law enforcement partners in Central America are committed to continued collaboration in locating and arresting gang members and associates engaged in transnational crimes,” said U.S. Attorney General Barr. “Our countries are made safer by working together to protect national security and to ensure public safety in our neighborhoods.”

In 2017, the U.S. Attorney General, together with the Attorneys General of the three Central American countries, committed to combatting transnational organized crime and reducing illegal migration to the United States through increased cooperation and capacity building of law enforcement partners. These efforts have led to the following results this week:

Prosecutors in El Salvador filed criminal charges against 1,152 members of organized crime groups in the country, primarily MS-13 and 18th Street Gangs. Within hours, the National Civil Police had captured 572 of the defendants for charges involving terrorism, murder, extortion, kidnapping, vehicle theft, robbery, conspiracy, narcotics trafficking, money laundering, weapons violations, human trafficking and human smuggling. Prosecutors and the Police also seized assets from these organized crime groups for forfeiture purposes.

In Guatemala, the Anti-Extortions Prosecution Office, the Prosecutor’s Office against Transnational Crimes, the Special Unit against Transnational Gangs, and police officers executed 80 search warrants, arrested 40 individuals, and served 29 arrest warrants against individuals already in custody, all of who are members of the 18th Street gang and MS-13. Authorities seized drugs and a firearm, and filed charges for extortion, illicit association, conspiracy to commit murder, and extortive obstruction. This investigation involves four transportation companies as victims of extortion in the amount of $54,523.

In Honduras, ORS joint operation took place in different phases during a one-week period resulted in the arrest of over 75 MS-13 and 18th Street gang members and five police officers and the execution of over 10 search warrants. Illegal firearms, cellular phones, drugs and money were seized. The arrestees were charged with illicit association, murder and conspiracy to commit murder, extortion and drug trafficking.

On February 9, President Donald J. Trump issued an Executive Order on Enforcing Federal Law with Respect to Transnational Criminal Organizations and Preventing International Trafficking to dismantle and eradicate transnational criminal organizations threatening the safety of our communities. Pursuant to that order, the U.S. Department of Justice has made dismantling transnational human smuggling networks and gangs, including MS-13, a top priority.

Regional Shield anti-gang efforts have led to charges against more than 11,000 gang members since 2017, including gang leaders nationwide. Many of these indictments included the seizure of gang assets including firearms and money. Also, during that time, more than a dozen smuggling/trafficking structures were dismantled. The capacity-building efforts in Central America of the Justice Department’s Office of Overseas Prosecutorial Development, Assistance and Training (OPDAT) have played a key role in bringing together the Attorneys General from El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras to form the regional operations targeting MS-13, 18th Street, and other gangs, as well as human smuggling transnational organizations. Additionally, as a result of OPDAT’s capacity building efforts, the Justice Department’s partners in Central America have strengthened cooperation and developed the skills, tools, and techniques to maximize results against all forms of transnational organized crime impacting the region and the United States.

“Since 2017, we have taken a joint and coordinated approach as northern triangle countries with our strategic partner, the United States of America,” said Attorney General Raul Melara of El Salvador. “To give our Salvadoran people a response and ensure that criminals face justice, we have strengthened the work of our Specialized Prosecution Units to be more effective in combating organized crime and terrorist organizations. I am committed as Attorney General to continuing this coordinated effort. We will only eradicate transnational organized crime by combining efforts as a region and by continuing to work together.”

 

In El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras, the investigations into transnational criminal organizations is being handled by regional gang prosecutors who receive State Department-funded training and mentoring from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and OPDAT. With support from State Department’s Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement, prosecutors from OPDAT helped establish task forces in the region and work with FBI’s local Transnational Anti-Gang (TAG) units, as well as HSI’s Transnational Criminal Investigative Units (TCIUs). These efforts have helped Central American partners convict thousands of criminals, seize over $1 billion in illicit assets, and coordinate dozens of transnational investigations with their U.S. counterparts.

Coast Guard repatriates 36 of 38 migrants to the Dominican Republic, following interdiction of 2 illegal voyages near Puerto Rico

October 22, 2020

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — The Coast Guard repatriated 36 of 38 migrants to the Dominican Republic Wednesday afternoon, following the interdiction of two illegal voyages just off Cabo Rojo and Aguadilla, Puerto Rico.

The interdicted migrants claimed to be Dominican Republic nationals, two of whom remain in Puerto Rico to face possible federal prosecution on charges of attempted illegal re-entry into the United States.

The interdictions are the result of ongoing multiagency efforts in support of Operation Caribbean Guard and the Caribbean Border Interagency Group (CBIG).

“The close collaboration and efficient coordination between the Puerto Rico Police and fellow responding federal law enforcement partner agencies resulted in two successful interdictions and the safe removal of all 38 migrants,” said Cmdr. Beau Powers, Sector San Juan chief of response. “If a migrant vessel capsizes, the chance for survival is very low, since these grossly overloaded and unseaworthy makeshift boats are continuously taking on water and they have no lifesaving equipment onboard. We call upon anyone looking to take part in an illegal voyage that they not take the sea; it is just not worth risking your life or the life of a loved one.”

The first interdiction occurred the Monday afternoon, when the crew of a Puerto Rico Police Joint Forces of Rapid Action marine unit stopped a makeshift boat, approximately half a nautical mile southwest of Cabo Rojo, Puerto Rico. Coast Guard watchstanders diverted the Coast Guard Cutter Joseph Doyle (WPC-1133), while a Customs and Border Protection marine interceptor also responded to assist.

The second interdiction occurred early Wednesday morning, after the crew of a U.S. Customs and Border Protection Air and Marine aircraft detected a suspect illegal voyage, approximately six nautical miles off the coast of Aguadilla, Puerto Rico. Shortly thereafter, the crew of a Puerto Rico Police Joint Forces of Rapid Action marine unit stopped the 25-foot makeshift boat, while the cutter Joseph Doyle and a Customs and Border Protection Air and marine surface unit arrived on scene to assist. The crew of the cutter Joseph Doyle safely embarked 17 migrants, 15 men and two women from the migrant vessel.

In both cases, the migrants were provided with lifejackets before embarking the Coast Guard cutter, where all migrants received food, water, shelter and basic medical attention.

Once on scene with the migrant vessel, the crew of the cutter Joseph Doyle safely embarked 21 migrants, 17 men and 4 women. After embarking all migrants, and following biometric processing, the crew learned of the criminal and immigration history of the two migrants who are now facing federal prosecution by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Puerto Rico. U.S. Border Patrol agents received custody of the two migrants in Mayaguez, Puerto Rico.

Coast Guard repatriates 45 of 48 migrants to the Dominican Republic, following interdiction of 3 illegal voyages in the Mona Passage

October 13, 2020

AN JUAN, Puerto Rico — The Coast Guard Cutter Winslow Griesser (WPC-1116) repatriated 45 of 48 migrants to the Dominican Republic Sunday afternoon, following the interdiction of three illegal voyages in the Mona Passage near Puerto Rico.

Two of the interdicted migrants remain in Puerto Rico to face possible federal prosecution on charges of attempted illegal re-entry into the United States.

One other female migrant is receiving medical care at a local hospital in Puerto Rico.

The interdictions are the result of ongoing multiagency efforts in support of Operation Caribbean Guard and the Caribbean Border Interagency Group (CBIG).

“The close collaboration, coordination and capabilities of the Coast Guard units and of our local and federal law enforcement partners who responded to these cases helped save the lives of all 48 migrants and safeguard the nation’s southernmost maritime border,” said Lt. Joel Wyman, cutter Winslow Griesser commanding officer. “These illegal voyages greatly endanger the lives of the migrants, since for the most part, these makeshift vessels are grossly overloaded, unseaworthy and are continuously are taking on water, which could cause them to sink or capsize with little or no warning.”

The first interdiction occurred Friday morning, after the crew of a U.S. Customs and Border Protection maritime patrol aircraft detected an illegal voyage approximately 17 nautical miles northwest of Aguadilla, Puerto Rico. Coast Guard watchstanders diverted the cutter Winslow Griesser to interdict, while a Puerto Rico Police Joint Forces of Rapid Action (F.U.R.A.) marine unit also responded.

Once on scene, the Coast Guard and Puerto Rico Police marine units interdicted the 25-foot makeshift boat. The crew of the cutter Winslow Griesser safely embarked the 38 migrants, 31 men and seven women, all of whom claimed Dominican Republic nationality.

The second interdiction occurred Friday afternoon, after the crew of a U.S. Customs and Border Protection maritime patrol aircraft detected an illegal voyage, approximately 58 nautical miles northwest of Desecheo Island, Puerto Rico. Coast Guard watchstanders diverted the Coast Guard Cutter Charles David Jr. (WPC-1107), which interdicted the 18-foot makeshift boat with the assistance of the cutter’s small boat. The cutter crew safely embarked seven migrants, five men and two women, all of whom claimed Dominican Republic nationality. A female migrant in this group who experienced deteriorating health complications while aboard the migrant vessel, was med-evaced to a local hospital.

A Puerto Rico Police F.U.R.A. marine unit interdicted the third illegal voyage Sunday afternoon, approximately two nautical miles north of Aguadilla, Puerto Rico. The cutter Winslow Griesser diverted to the scene and embarked three men, all of whom claimed Dominican Republic nationality.

Once aboard the Coast Guard cutter, all migrants received food, water, shelter and basic medical attention.

After embarking all migrants, the crew conducted biometrics processing for the group, which revealed the criminal and immigration history for the two migrants, who are facing federal prosecution. U.S. Border Patrol agents received custody of both migrants in Mayaguez, Puerto Rico.

Coast Guard interdicts 2 illegal voyages in the Mona Passage, repatriates 33 migrants to the Dominican Republic

October 7, 2020

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — The Coast Guard Cutter Heriberto Hernandez (WPC-1114) repatriated 33 migrants to the Dominican Republic Wednesday morning, following the interdiction of two illegal voyages in the Mona Passage near Puerto Rico.

The interdictions are the result of ongoing multiagency efforts in support of Operation Caribbean Guard and the Caribbean Border Interagency Group (CBIG)

“I’m proud of the crew of the Heriberto Hernandez and our fellow partner agencies, who responded and worked tirelessly throughout the night to interdict two migrant smuggling voyages and ensure all 33 migrants were safely recovered from these grossly overloaded and unseaworthy makeshift boats,” said Lt. Andrew Russo, Coast Guard Cutter Heriberto Hernandez (WPC-1114) commanding officer.

The first interdiction occurred late Tuesday night, after the crew of a U.S. Customs and Border Protection maritime patrol aircraft detected an illegal voyage 43 nautical miles north of Mona Island, Puerto Rico. Coast Guard watchstanders at Sector San Juan directed the launch of a Coast Guard HC-144 Ocean Sentry aircraft from Air Station Miami to relieve the CBP aircraft and diverted the cutter Heriberto Hernandez to interdict the suspect vessel.

Once on scene, the crew of cutter Heriberto Hernandez interdicted the 25-foot makeshift boat and safely embarked 20 migrants, 19 men and a woman, for safety of life at sea concerns. The migrant group claimed to be Dominican Republic nationals.

The second interdiction occurred early Wednesday morning, after the crew of a U.S. Customs and Border Protection maritime patrol aircraft detected an illegal voyage 38 nautical miles northwest of Desecheo Island, Puerto Rico. Shortly thereafter, cutter Heriberto Hernandez arrived on scene and interdicted a 20-foot makeshift boat with the assistance of the cutter’s small boat. The cutter crew safely embarked 13 migrants from the migrant vessel, two women and 11 men, all of whom claimed Dominican Republic nationality.

Once aboard the Coast Guard cutter, all migrants received food, water, shelter and basic medical attention. Throughout the interdiction, Coast Guard crewmembers were equipped with personal protective equipment to minimize potential exposure to any possible case of COVID-19. There were no migrants in these cases reported to have any COVID-19 related symptoms.

Cutter Heriberto Hernandez rendezvoused and repatriated the migrants to a Dominican Republic Navy vessel near the Dominican Republic.

Coast Guard repatriates 36 of 38 migrants to the Dominican Republic, following interdiction in the Mona Passage near Puerto Rico

September 21, 2020

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — The Coast Guard Cutter Winslow Griesser (WPC-1116) repatriated 36 of 38 migrants to a Dominican Republic Navy vessel Saturday, following the interdiction of an illegal migrant voyage Thursday in Mona Passage waters south of Mona Island, Puerto Rico.

Two women in the migrant group who required medical attention ashore, were medevaced and taken to a local hospital in Puerto Rico. During the interdiction, the Winslow Griesser crew also seized seven kilograms of cocaine, which are estimated to have wholesale value of more than $154,000 dollars.

The interdiction is the result of ongoing multiagency efforts in support of Operation Caribbean Guard and the Caribbean Border Interagency Group CBIG, and the Caribbean Corridor Strike Force.

“The professionalism and skill displayed by the crew, our partner agencies and Dominican Republic Navy allies led to a smooth interdiction and the safe recovery and repatriation of the migrants,” said Lt. Joel Wyman, cutter Winslow Griesser commanding officer. “These 38 lives were in great danger, their makeshift boat was grossly overloaded, they had little to no life saving equipment onboard, and were rapidly taking on water. The outcome could have been tragic.”

The interdiction occurred during a routine patrol Thursday morning, when the crew of a U.S. Customs and Border Protection dash-8 marine patrol aircraft detected an illegal migrant voyage, approximately 20 nautical miles south of Mona Island, Puerto Rico.

The migrant group was traveling aboard a 30-foot makeshift boat that was transporting 35 men and three women, who claimed Dominican Republic nationality. The crew of cutter Winslow Griesser safely embarked the migrants for safety of life at sea concerns, as the migrant vessel was taking on water and had accumulated over four inches of water inside.

Once aboard a Coast Guard cutter, all migrants received food, water, shelter and basic medical attention. Throughout the interdiction, Coast Guard crewmembers were equipped with personal protective equipment to minimize potential exposure to any possible case of COVID-19. There were no migrants in these cases reported to have any COVID-19 related symptoms.

Cutter Winslow Griesser transported the remaining migrants to Dominican Republic territorial waters off Punta Cana, where it rendezvoused with a Dominican Republic Navy vessel, who received the repatriated migrants.

Coast Guard oversees first foreign vessel to bunker LNG as fuel in the U.S.

September8, 2020

ACKSONVILLE, Fla.— The Coast Guard completed oversight of the first foreign vessel to bunker Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) as fuel in Jacksonville, Tuesday.

The Swedish tankship, Fure Ven, moored alongside Talleyrand Marine Terminal to take on LNG as fuel. The Fure Ven is the first-ever foreign vessel with plans to bunker LNG in Jacksonville.

LNG is a natural gas that has been cooled to a liquid at -260 degrees Fahrenheit. In liquid form, the volume is reduced to about 600 times that of its gaseous state, making it possible to transport and use as a transportation fuel.

Vessels that use LNG as fuel are able to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by approximately 25% when compared to conventional marine fuels. With the International Maritime Organization adopting strict regulations on emissions, LNG offers a clean alternative with 100% reduction of sulfur oxides and 90% reduction of nitric oxides when compared to heavy fuel oil.

“There are over 150 existing non-gas carrier foreign vessels that are utilizing low flashpoint fuels as a marine fuel and over 200 more vessels on order. With the increasing eco-friendly demands, Fure Ven marks the inaugural foreign vessel gas bunker operation to occur in the U.S,” said Lt. Yue Shen, Liquefied Gas Carrier National Center of Expertise.

USS Kidd (DDG 100), Coast Guard, apprehend 3 smugglers, seize $6 million in cocaine in the Caribbean Sea

August 30, 2020.

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — The Coast Guard, Navy and U.S. law enforcement partners seized 225 kilograms of cocaine and apprehended three suspected smugglers following the interdiction of a drug smuggling go-fast in the Caribbean Sea, last week.

Two suspected smugglers are Dominican Republic nationals and one is Colombian, while the seized cocaine has a wholesale value of approximately $6 million.

The interdiction is the result of an international, multi-agency law enforcement effort in support of Operation Unified Resolve, Operation Caribbean Guard, Campaign Martillo (a joint, interagency, 20-nation collaborative counter narcotic effort), and the Caribbean Corridor Strike Force (CCSF), will be prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Puerto Rico.

“The strong relationship and collaboration between the Coast Guard and the U.S. Navy continuously yields positive outcomes as evidenced by this case,” said Rear Adm. Eric Jones, commander of Coast Guard Seventh District. “The shared unwavering resolve and daily interaction between our Department of Defense and local and federal law enforcement partners in the region help safeguard and strengthen the Caribbean region against this threat. We are committed to the protection of our nation’s southernmost maritime border and of our fellow citizens in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.”

During a routine patrol in support of Joint Interagency Task Force – South’s mission to detect attempts to transport contraband into the U.S. and partner nations, the USS Kidd’s (DDG 100) helicopter crew sighted a suspicious go-fast vessel in the Caribbean Sea. The USS Kidd, an Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer operating with U.S. Coast Guard Law Enforcement Detachment (LEDET) 401 onboard, coordinated with the Coast Guard Seventh District to interdict the suspect vessel.

The helicopter crew observed the suspected smugglers jettison multiple bales into the water as the go-fast continued to evade capture. The USS Kidd successfully interdicted and boarded the go-fast with the assistance of the CG LEDET 401. The USS Kidd’s crew and CG LEDET 401 apprehended the suspected smugglers and recovered eight jettisoned bales from the water. The seized contraband tested positive for cocaine.

The Coast Guard Cutter Resolute (WMEC-620) embarked and transported the suspected smugglers and seized contraband to San Juan, Puerto Rico Saturday, where awaiting U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)-HSI, and DEA special agents received custody.

Coast Guard Boat Station San Juan rescues 1 Grenadian, 1 Bahamian aboard disabled and adrift vessel off Vega Baja, Puerto Rico

August 30, 2020

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico - The crew of a Boat Station San Juan 45-foot Boat Medium boat rescued two men aboard the 44-foot disabled and adrift recreational vessel Sand Piper Wednesday, approximately half a nautical mile off the coast of Vega Baja, Puerto Rico.

Rescued are Grenadian national Joseph Adrian, 36, and Bahamian national Christopher Knowles, 35, who reportedly purchased the Sand Piper in Florida and were taking the vessel to Grenada, where it was to be registered.

Coast Guard watchstanders in Sector San Juan received a request for assistance from the operator of the Sand Piper, via Rescue 21 VHF Channel 16 communications, who reported the vessel disabled, approximately 15 nautical miles north of Vega Baja. The operator further relayed they were adrift after the vessel’s anchor line snapped. Watchstanders directed the launch of Boat Station San Juan’s 45-Boat Medium to respond and aide the boaters in distress.

"We quickly arrived at the disabled vessel about 100 yards from shoal water,” said Petty Officer 2nd Class Jesse Wilde, Boat Station San Juan coxswain for the case. “The crew reverted to the way we train and flawlessly rigged the deck for the towing evolution and passed the towline. About four hours later we were moored safely inside San Juan Harbor. This could have been a much more dangerous situation had the vessel drifted further into the shoal water."

The Boat Station San Juan boat crew towed the Sand Piper to the San Juan Marina, where the rescued boaters were received by Customs and Border Protection officers and granted administrative parole to conduct vessel repairs.

Coast Guard repatriates 52 migrants to the Dominican Republic, following interdiction in the Mona Passage

August 18, 2020

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — The Coast Guard Cutter Joseph Doyle (WPC-1133) repatriated 52 migrants to a Dominican Republic Navy vessel Monday, following the interdiction of an illegal migrant voyage west of Cabo Rojo, Puerto Rico.

The interdiction is the result of ongoing multiagency efforts in support of Operation Caribbean Guard and the Caribbean Border Interagency Group CBIG.

“I’m proud of the swift response and coordination between all the Coast Guard units involved in this case which resulted in a quick interdiction and the safe removal of all 52 migrants,” said the Commanding Officer of Cutter Joseph Doyle. “These people were in real danger of capsizing due to a grossly overloaded vessel that was ill equipped with little or no lifesaving equipment. We call out to those considering taking part in an illegal voyage that they not take to the sea, the risk of a real tragedy is just too great.”

While on a routine patrol of the Mona Passage Sunday night, the crew of a Coast Guard HC-144 Ocean Sentry marine enforcement aircraft detected an illegal migrant voyage, approximately 30 nautical miles west of Cabo Rojo. The cutter Joseph Doyle responded to interdict the suspect vessel, while a Coast Guard HH-65 Dolphin helicopter from Air Station Borinquen was launched to provide rescue support overhead.

Shortly thereafter, the cutter Joseph Doyle arrived on scene and, with the assistance of the cutter’s small boat, stopped the 20-foot makeshift boat that was transporting 48 adult men and four women, who claimed being Dominican Republic nationals. The crew of cutter Joseph Doyle safely embarked the migrants for safety of life at sea concerns.

Once aboard a Coast Guard cutter, all migrants received food, water, shelter and basic medical attention. Throughout the interdiction, Coast Guard crewmembers were equipped with personal protective equipment to minimize potential exposure to any possible case of COVID-19. There were no migrants in this case reported to have any COVID-19 related symptoms.

Cutter Joseph Doyle transported the migrants to Dominican Republic territorial waters off Punta Cana, where they completed the transfer and repatriation of the migrants to Dominican Republic navy authorities.

Coast Guard Cutter Legare offloads nearly 5,000 lbs. of cocaine, marijuana in Miami

August 6,2020

MIAMI — Coast Guard Cutter Legare's (WMEC 912) crew offloaded nearly 5,000 pounds of interdicted contraband, worth an estimated $25.7 million, Wednesday, at Port Everglades.

The Coast Guard Cutter Winslow Griesser (WPC 1116) crew interdicted nearly 1,100 pounds of cocaine, and the Cyclone-class patrol ship USS Shamal (PC 13) crew with embarked Coast Guard Law Enforcement Detachment (LEDET) crew interdicted approximately 3,900 pounds of marijuana, while on patrol in the Caribbean Sea from suspected drug smuggling vessels.  

Numerous U.S. agencies from the Departments of Defense, Justice, and Homeland Security cooperated in the effort to combat transnational organized crime. The Coast Guard, Navy, Customs and Border Protection, FBI, Drug Enforcement Administration, and Immigration and Customs Enforcement, along with allied and international partner agencies, play a role in counter-drug operations.

On April 1, U.S. Southern Command began enhanced counter-narcotics operations in the Western Hemisphere to disrupt the flow of drugs in support of Presidential National Security Objectives. Numerous U.S. agencies from the Departments of Defense, Justice and Homeland Security cooperated in the effort to combat transnational organized crime. The Coast Guard, Navy, Customs and Border Protection, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Drug Enforcement Administration, and Immigration and Customs Enforcement, along with allied and international partner agencies, play a role in counter-drug operations.
The fight against drug cartels in the Caribbean Sea requires unity of effort in all phases from detection, monitoring and interdictions, to criminal prosecutions by international partners and U.S. Attorneys Offices in districts across the nation. The law enforcement phase of counter-smuggling operations in the Caribbean Sea is conducted under the authority of the Coast Guard 7th District, headquartered in Miami, Florida. The interdictions, including the actual boardings, are led and conducted by members of the U.S. Coast Guard.

The Winslow Griesser is a 154-foot fast response cutter homported in San Juan, Puerto Rico. The Coast Guard Fast Response Cutters are a key component of the Coast Guard's offshore fleet that is capable of deployment independently to conduct missions. The cutters have an enhanced response time and have the ability to conduct missions on moderate and heavy seas.

Coast Guard medevacs 59-year-old man 207 miles of east Turks and Caicos

August 4, 2020

The Coast Guard medevaced a 59-year-old man from the tug ship, Patriarch, Tuesday, approximately 207 miles of east Turks and Caicos.

A Coast Guard Air Station Clearwater MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew forward deployed in Great Inagua, Bahamas, hoisted the man and safely took him to Providenciales, Turks and Caicos. An Air Station Clearwater HC-130 Hercules aircraft crew was also on scene during the medevac as a self-recovery asset and a communications platform for the Jayhawk helicopter crew.

Once both aircraft were in Providenciales, the man and a Coast Guard rescue swimmer were transferred to the Hercules aircraft. The Hercules aircrew safely transported the man in stable condition to awaiting emergency medical services in St. Petersburg, Florida.

Coast Guard Seventh District command center watchstanders received a medevac request from the Patriarch master stating the man was reportedly suffering from medical complications and needed higher level medical care. The watchstanders coordinated with the tug boat to transit closer to Turks and Caicos for the medevac.

"We appreciate the partnership and coordination with the Turks and Caicos Governor as we were able to get this man to higher level medical care in a timely manner," said Capt. Eric Smith, District 7 incident management branch chief. "Due to our vast area of responsibility, having partner nations assist mariners during times of distress is beneficial for all parties, and we appreciate the coordination to help the Patriarch crew."

Several Semi Automatic Pistols Shipped by Mail in Tool Box Siezed in Puerto Rico

July 6, 2020

United States Customs and Border Protection (CBP) seized six semi-automatic pistols and nine pistol loaders on Friday in a toolbox shipped by airmail from Tennessee to Port of Spain, Trinidad.

"The export of firearms requires a license that complies with the export control regulations of the United States," said Carlos Nieves, director of the port for CBP in Mayagüez-Aguadilla. "CBP officials enforce the import and export regulations of the United States to ensure that products entering the supply chain respect international trade agreements."

On July 1, CBP officers inspected outgoing packages at Rafael Hernández International Airport. A CBP K-9 alerted a box declared "Gift Shipping" with a declared $ 100 customs value.

A more intrusive inspection revealed that the toolbox had six semi-automatic pistols and nine pistol magazines.

Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) agents took custody of the weapons for further investigation.

The United States Department of Commerce's Office of Industry and Security (BIS) administers US laws, regulations, and policies governing the export and re-export of products, software, and technology (collectively "items") found under the jurisdiction of the Export Administration Regulations.

CBP works with BIS to implement and enforce the EAR, which regulates the export, re-export, and transfer (in-country) of items for commercial use that can also be used in conventional weapons, weapons of mass destruction, terrorist, or human activities.

With more than 60,000 employees, United States Customs and Border Protection is one of the largest law enforcement organizations in the world and is charged with keeping terrorists and their weapons out of the United States while facilitating international travel and trade. legal.

As the first unified border entity in the United States, CBP takes a comprehensive approach to border management and control, combining customs, immigration, border security and agricultural protection into one coordinated and supportive activity

 

$5.6 million in seized cocaine, 3 suspected smugglers transfered to San Juan, Puerto Rico

.June 15, 2020

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — The crew of the Coast Guard Donald Horsley (WPC-1117) offloaded approximately 150 kilograms of seized cocaine and transferred custody of three suspected smugglers to federal law enforcement authorities, Saturday, at Sector San Juan.

The seized drug shipment is estimated to have a wholesale value of more than $ 5.6 million. The three men apprehended remain in U.S. custody facing criminal charges for drug smuggling.

The interdiction was the result of ongoing efforts in support of Operation Unified Resolve, the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) program and the Caribbean Corridor Strike Force (CCSF). Prosecution is being led by the United States Attorney's Office, District of Puerto Rico.

“COVID-19 has presented us with tremendous operational and personal challenges over these past few months and yet the great women and men of the United States Coast Guard continue to do an outstanding job safeguarding this great nation,” said Lt. Joel Wyman, cutter Winslow Griesser commanding officer. “I’m proud of my crew for demonstrating this during our most recent counter drug interdiction, resulting in the seizure of 150kgs of cocaine. This goes to show no matter how big the storm is in front of us, we will continue to prevail.”

The interdiction and seizure occurred during a patrol the night of June 8, 2020, where the crew of a Customs and Border Protection maritime patrol aircraft detected a suspect go-fast vessel with three people aboard, approximately 50 nautical miles southwest of Isla Saona, Dominican Republic. Coast Guard watchstanders at Sector San Juan directed the launch of a Coast Guard HC-144 Ocean Sentry aircraft to acquire the location of the go-fast and diverted the cutter Coast Guard Cutter Winslow Griesser carry out the interdiction.

Once on scene, the Winslow Griesser Over the Horizon cutter boat stopped the go-fast and recovered three bales from the water near the go-fast. The recovered bales tested positive for cocaine and weighed approximately 150kgs.

The detainees and seized contraband were transferred to the cutter Donald Horsley for transport to Sector San Juan. Cutter Donald Horsley’s crew offloaded the contraband and disembarked the suspected smugglers in coordination with Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)-HSI, DEA and CCSF special agents in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Coast Guard medevacs crewmember from Yasa Jupiter bulk carrier ship in the Atlantic Ocean near Puerto Rico

June 15, 2020

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – The crew of a Coast Guard MH-65D Dolphin helicopter crew medevaced a crewmember from the 653-feet bulk carrier ship Yasa Jupiter Saturday, approximately 60 nautical miles northeast of San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector San Juan received the medevac request Friday night from the Marshall Islands flagged ship for a 26-year-old crewmember, who was suffering from abdominal pain.

“This case was an excellent representation of superior communication from the cargo ship Yasa Jupiter, the Sector San Juan Command Center and Air Station watchstanders,” said Lt. Adam Morehouse, MH-65 Air Station Borinquen aircraft commander for the case. “Sector San Juan coordinated an exact position and time to be on scene, while the flight crew worked to establish the best flight path and hoist sequence, allowing us to quickly recover and bring this crewmember ashore to get the medical care he required.”

The Yasa Jupiter was transiting on a voyage from Morocco to Panama, approximately 360 nautical miles northeast of Puerto Rico, outside the range of responding rescue helicopters, when the ship requested reported the incident and requested assistance from the Coast Guard.

Sector San Juan watchstanders requested the Yasa Jupiter continue making way towards Puerto Rico to shorten the distance for the medevac.

A Coast Guard Air Station MH-65 Dolphin helicopter from Air Station Borinquen launched to meet the Yasa Jupiter at the rendezvous location. Upon arriving on scene, the helicopter crew lowered their rescue swimmer, along with a rescue basket, to hoist the ship crewmember aboard the aircraft.

The Coast Guard helicopter crew safely hoisted the patient onboard with the assistance of the ship’s crew and transported the patient to the Fernando Luis Ribas Dominicci Airport in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Emergency Medical Service personnel received and transported the crewmember to the “Centro Médico” Hospital to receive the required medical care.

Coast Guard, Good Samaritan Rescue 2 Men Presumed Lost at Sea

May 22, 2020

The Coast Guard and a good Samaritan rescued two fishermen, Monday, who were presumed lost at sea, 23 miles northeast of Cat Island, Bahamas.

Rescued were Domingo Jimenez, 45, and Ramon Castillo, 29, both from Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.

A Coast Guard Air Station Clearwater MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew, forward deployed for Operation Bahamas Turks and Caicos (OPBAT), hoisted Jimenez and Castillo and safely transferred them to Bahamian Authorities in Nassau, Bahamas.

 Coast Guard Sector San Juan watchstanders received a report from the good Samaritan vessel Signet Intruder crew reporting they were flagged down by two people in a vessel, who reported to have been adrift for approximately two weeks. The watchstanders directed the launch of an OPBAT Jayhawk helicopter crew to assist.

“These two men were presumed lost at sea but were found and safely rescued because a good Samaritan spotted them,” said Cmdr. Juan M. Hernandez, with Sector San Juan..

“Search and rescue cases are very dynamic and very case to case, which is why it’s imperative that prior to leaving the docks a person needs to file a float plan, have a VHF radio, have proper emergency equipment, like flares and signaling devices, and life jackets.” On May 5, Sector San Juan watchstanders received a report from a concerned family member of an overdue 25-foot fishing vessel with two people aboard approximately 132 miles northeast of Samana, Dominican Republic. The two men reportedly departed Samana May 2 to fish and were expected back May 5.

US, Cuba Trade Terrorism Accusations as Havana Blacklisted

May 13, 2020

The United States and Cuba traded accusations of support for terrorism as President Donald Trump's administration on Wednesday blacklisted the communist island, saying it had not fully cooperated on counterterrorism.

Washington increased the pressure on Havana just one day after Cuba urged a terrorism probe over gunfire that hit its embassy in the US capital.

The State Department faulted Cuba over the presence of Colombia's leftist ELN rebels, who traveled to Havana in 2017 to negotiate with the Bogota government but have not returned.

t was the first time that Cuba was not certified since 2015. It joined the ranks of four other US adversaries -- Iran, North Korea, Syria and Venezuela.

"Cuba's refusal to productively engage with the Colombian government demonstrates that it is not cooperating with US work to support Colombia's efforts to secure a just and lasting peace, security and opportunity for its people," the State Department said.

Colombian President Ivan Duque, a conservative ally of the United States, broke off talks with the ELN after a January car bomb attack on a Bogota police academy killed 21 recruits.

The militants have been demanding, unsuccessfully, that Colombia grant safe passage for its negotiators to come back from Cuba.

The State Department certification falls under the Arms Export Control Act and will have little practical effect on Cuba, which does not buy weapons from its long-time foe.

Plane with 129 Migrants Deported from the US Arrives in Haiti During pandemic

April 23, 2020

A plane with 129 migrants deported from the United States landed in Haiti on Thursday while the Caribbean country is seized with fears that the second such flight this month will affect the limited resources with which it fights the Covid-19 disease.

Authorities boarded them on buses and took them to a hotel in the capital Port-au-Prince, where they met with more than 60 additional deportees serving a two-week quarantine.

Three of the migrants who arrived in early April have tested positive for the coronavirus, although so far none of those who left San Antonio, Texas, have a fever Thursday, said Jean Negot Bonheur Delva, director of the Haitian migration office. There are 50 children between the ages of 5 and 15 in the latest group, he told The Associated Press.

The World Health Organization is providing Haiti with free test kits, although the local government is paying for the three meals a day and the deportees' two-week stay in hotels, including one in the coastal town of Cap-Haïten, in the north of the country, where almost 400 migrants are in quarantine after being expelled from the neighboring Turks and Caicos islands.

Bonheur declined to say how much the government is spending, while a Miami-based group of Haitian rights advocates asked President Jovenel Moïse to stop hosting deportees and ask US President Donald Trump to temporarily suspend deportations.

"These flights not only put deportees at risk, but also threaten to spread the coronavirus in Haiti, a country that as you well know is poorly equipped to deal with a pandemic," wrote Marleine Bastien, executive director of the Family Action Network. Movement.

The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Service has said it has tested 425 detainees in its custody as of April 21, representing a small fraction of the more than 32,000 people in custody.

Haitian government officials did not immediately respond to a request for comment. However, Prime Minister Joseph Jouthe said a few days ago that the country is taking care of deportees.

"They are Haitians. They are coming home. We have to receive them, "he said Monday in an interview with Radio Vision 2000.

Haiti has reported at least four deaths and more than 60 confirmed cases of the coronavirus. Facebook Twitter E-mail Print

Coast Guard, Dominican Republic Navy Interdiction of Illegal Migrant Voyage Leads to the Arrest of 2 known Smugglers

April 22, 2020

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Joseph Doyle (WPC-1133) and a Dominican Republic Navy vessel combined efforts during Monday's interdiction of an illegal migrant voyage transporting 15 migrants in waters south of Isla Saona, Dominican Republic.

The interdiction, which was part of a joint effort between the Coast Guard, the Dominican Republic Navy and U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement – Homeland Security Investigations, led to Dominican Republic authorities arresting Edgar Batista Matos and Manauris Andujar Manon, who reportedly are associated with human smuggling activities and the organization of illegal migrant voyages.

During a patrol in the Caribbean Sea Monday afternoon, the crew of a Coast Guard HC-144 Ocean Sentry aircraft detected a suspect migrant vessel south of Isla Saona, Dominican Republic. While patrolling nearby waters, cutter Joseph Doyle responded to the sighting and interdicted the 25-foot make shift vessel that was carrying 15 migrants, 13 men and two women of Dominican Republic nationality. Shortly thereafter, a responding Dominican Republic Navy vessel arrived on scene and the crew took custody of the migrants and towed the interdicted vessel back to the Dominican Republic.

Following the interdiction, Dominican Republic Navy authorities informed the Coast Guard that the known smugglers were found to be among the interdicted migrants. “This successful interdiction and arrest of two smugglers was the result of the strong partnership and collaboration that exists between the Coast Guard and Dominican Republic Navy,” said Captain Eric King, commander of Coast Guard Sector San Juan.

“The results achieved today, despite the challenging operational environment presented by the global COVID-19 pandemic, reflect the commitment and daily efforts carried out by both countries to protect our borders from existing maritime threats and safeguard the lives of migrants who face the danger of an uncertain and potentially perilous voyage.”

Trump: US to deploy anti-drug Navy ships near Venezuela in the Caribbean Sea

April 1st, 2020

The president of the United States, Donald Trump, used this Wednesday's press briefing of the White House on the coronavirus to announce intensification of measures against drug trafficking in the Caribbean Sea.

This mission is part of the previously announced commitment by the United States to improve anti-drug operations in the hemisphere. It has become more urgent after the accusation against Nicolás Maduro, the socialist leader of Venezuela, and members of his intimate and military circle last week. They are accused of leading a conspiracy of drug traffickers responsible for smuggling up to 250 metric tons of cocaine a year to the United States, about half by sea.

It also occurs when Maduro steps up attacks on his US-backed rival Juan Guaidó . Maduro's chief prosecutor ordered Guaidó to give testimony tomorrow, Thursday, as part of an investigation into an alleged coup attempt. The legislator, recognized as the leader of Venezuela by almost 60 countries, has already announced that he will not appear.

The enhanced mission has been months in the making but has taken on greater urgency following last week's indictment of Maduro, Venezuela's embattled socialist leader, and members of his inner circle and military. They are accused of leading a narcoterrorist conspiracy responsible for smuggling up to 250 metric tons of cocaine a year into the U.S., about half of it by sea.

Maduro has blasted the Trump administration’s offer of a $15 million reward for his arrest, calling it the work of a “racist cowboy” aimed at getting U.S. hands on Venezuela’s vast oil reserves, the world's largest.

The report of the planned deployment comes two days after one of Venezuela's naval patrol boats sank after colliding with a Portuguese-flagged cruise ship near the Venezuelan-controlled island of La Tortuga. Maduro accused the ship of acting aggressively and said it was possibly carrying “mercenaries” seeking his ouster.

Coronavirus Infections in the Dominican Republic Increase Drastically

March 29, 2020

Deaths from coronavirus in the Dominican Republic amount to 39, having registered eleven new deaths in the last 24 hours, while confirmed cases rose to 859, 140 new infections since yesterday,  Minister of Public Health Rafael Sánchez Cárdenas reported on Sunday.

Of the total of confirmed cases, 131 patients are in hospital isolation and 686 in-home isolation; 57% of those infected are men and the age range is between 1 and 90 years, said the minister, who confirmed that there is a six-month-old baby among the new patients and two other minors among the latest suspected cases.

By place of residence, the highest proportion of cases corresponds to the National District, with 367 (44%), followed by Santo Domingo, with 101 (12%), Santiago, with 97 (11%) and Duarte, with 83 (10 %), a province that also accumulates 21 of the 39 deaths and whose main municipality, San Francisco de Macorís, was the first of the demarcations of the country to register the community contagion of the disease.

Asked about the possibility of tightening quarantine measures in the municipality or in the province as a whole, Sánchez Cárdenas said that "all options are open" and that between now and tomorrow new decisions could be made based on the data go collecting.

As for deaths, the average age is 60 years and 29 of the 39, equivalent to 74%, were men, who had health conditions prior to infection, said the official.

On the other hand, he indicated that in Santiago, the second city in the country, the Hospital de La Colina is being supplied with more than 110 beds for the reception of coronavirus patients who need care.

This morning, two health centers in the city announced that they do not have the capacity to accommodate those most affected by the disease, a circumstance to which the minister referred to questions from the press, indicating that between the two establishments there are only 22 beds for isolation, 16 one and six another.

The shortage of masks was another of the issues to which the minister referred and announced that the National Commission for the management of the coronavirus will be requested to allow a free zone company to provide the entire country with supplies.

The Dominican Republic has been in a state of emergency since Thursday, March 19, and the following day the curfew was imposed from 5:00 pm to 6:00 am.

Cuba Allows British Cruise Ship Carrying Passengers with COVID-19 to Dock on the Island

March 16, 2020

The Cuban government has authorized a British cruise ship carrying five people with confirmed cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, to dock at a port in the island.

The MS Braemar, which has been sailing in the Caribbean since the end of February, is also carrying 20 passengers and 20 crew members, including a physician, who are suffering from flu-like symptoms, the company that owns the ship, Fred Olsen Cruise Lines, said.

The ship company in a statement that no other Caribbean port would allow the ship to dock “because the issue of the COVID-19 coronavirus is very sensitive.”

Cuba’s foreign minister said his country will allow the ship to dock, then arrange for the passengers to fly back to the United Kingdom.

”At the request of the British government, Cuba has authorized docking in the country of the MS Braemar cruise ship, with a small number of travelers diagnosed with #Covid-19. Sanitary measures established in protocols of WHO and the Cuban Ministry of Health will be adopted to receive passengers and crew,” Foreign Minister Bruno Rodríguez said on Twitter.

”We and British authorities have decided that once the travelers arrive in Cuba, they will proceed on a safe and immediate return to the United Kingdom by air,” the foreign minister said.

The ship is carrying 682 passengers and 381 crew members, currently stranded off the Bahamas. Among the passengers are citizens of Canada, Australia, Belgium, Colombia, Ireland, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway and Sweden.

First virus death in Cayman Islands

March 14, 2020

A 68-year-old Italian man, who became the first confirmed patient for the Cayman Islands coronavirus and its first virus-related death, was on the same Italian cruise ship carrying the first two cases of Covid-19 from Puerto Rico.

Death was reported earlier today.

According to the Miami Herald, the Costa Luminosa arrived in Grand Cayman on February 29, after its Italian passengers were prohibited from disembarking the previous day in Ocho Ríos, Jamaica, due to fears about the possible spread of the new coronavirus.

Days later, the ship arrived in Puerto Rico, where authorities announced that a 68-year-old passenger from northern Italy had been evacuated from the cruise ship with pneumonia, accompanied by her husband of 70 years.

 Governor, Wanda Vázquez confirmed yesterday that the couple's tests were positive.

The woman's test was performed at the newly established public health laboratory in Puerto Rico while the man's results were reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Cuba Has Important Drug Available Against the Coronavirus

March 13, 2020

Havana, Cuba.- Cuban health authorities reported today that China successfully used a drug developed in Cuba to treat the coronavirus COVID-19, which has been included in the protocol for treating the disease and will be available to the population of the island, as well as for export.

Executives from the company Biocubafarma, which produces and markets the medicines manufactured in Cuba, pointed out today that human Interferon alfa 2B, developed by Cuban scientists and shared with China through a mixed capital company between the two countries, has been very effective in the treatment of the coronavirus outbreak that arose in Wuhan.

The president of Biocubafarma, Eduardo Martínez, explained that the company has made thousands of doses of Interferon available to Cuban hospitals, which must be sufficient to attend to the emergency in the coming months.

He argued that Cuba is in the position to sell the drug on the international market in large quantities and that they have received approaches from countries around the world to buy or learn about Interferon .

He declined to reveal the names of the countries, but assured that Cuba has the capacity to continue producing the medicine and for it to be used for the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic decreed by the World Health Organization.

He argued that it is impossible to determine how many people could get sick in Cuba, although he assured that the country has taken measures to limit infections and that a battery of 22 medications necessary for the treatment protocol is available to be used.

"We have the ability to treat all patients once they become ill and, at the same time, supply the international market," said Martínez.

Developed in 1986 by a team of researchers from the Cuban Center for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology (CIGB) in Cuba, recombinant human Interferon alfa 2B has been used in thousands of Cuban patients and is among the drugs currently used to combat the new coronavirus COVID -19.

Dr. Eulogio Pimentel Vázquez, general director of the entity belonging to the BioCubaFarma Business Group, expressed that over the course of six decades the product showed its efficacy and safety in the therapy of viral diseases, such as Hepatitis B and C, Herpes zoster ( popularly called shingles), HIV-AIDS and Dengue.

Specialists reported that it is not a vaccine, but that Cuba is currently working on a vaccine to attack the different ranges of coronaviruses, which will not be available during the pandemic, due to the short time available for serious clinical trials.

 

 

15 Children Die After an Orphanage Burned in Haiti

February 14, 2020

A fire killed 15 children, including several babies, by devastating an orphanage in Haiti run by an evangelical NGO based in Pennsylvania, officials said Friday.

Child care worker Rose-Marie Louis told The Associated Press that the fire started around 9 p.m. Thursday and it took the fire department an hour and a half to arrive. The orphanage was lit with candles due to a malfunction of its generator and power inverter, he added.

Approximately half of those killed were babies or infants, and the rest were between 10 and 11 years old, Louis said.

Initially 13 bodies were recovered. Justice of the peace Raymonde Jean Antoine said two bodies were removed on Friday afternoon from the Bible Understanding temple orphanage in Kenscoff, outside of Port-au-Prince, the capital of Haiti.

Rescuers arrived on motorcycles, without packaged oxygen or the ambulances needed to transport the children to the hospital, said civil defense official Jean-François Robenty.

"We could have saved them," he said. "We didn't have the equipment to save their lives."

The evangelical organization lost the authorization of its orphanage after a series of inspections as of November 2012. Haitian inspectors criticized overpopulation, unhealthy conditions and a shortage of properly trained personnel.

In 2013, The Associated Press made a surprise visit to the two homes of the organization, with a total of 120 children, and found lounge chairs with worn mattresses in dirty rooms, bathrooms and smelly stairs, and dark rooms, lacking the least comfort or decor.

The Church of Bible Understanding, based in Scranton, Pennsylvania, identifies their two homes in Haiti as orphanages, although it is common for very poor families to give their children to residential centers where they receive housing and education for some years, even if technically they are not orphans.

 

Coast Guard Cutter Willow saves 4 in Caribbean Basin

February 7, 2020

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — The Coast Guard Cutter Willow (WLB-202) crew rescued a total of four people in two search and rescue cases while underway in the Caribbean Basin.

In the first search and rescue case, the cutter Willow crew received a mayday call from the 50-foot sailing vessel, Jeune Amelia, in the Old Bahama Channel, approximately 20 miles north of the Cuban coastline while transiting to service aids to navigation in Port Au Prince, Haiti, Jan. 24.

The three-man vessel crew claimed they were about to lose emergency power because their engine went out three days prior.

The cutter Willow crew located the Jeune Amelia crew approximately 100 miles southwest of the Bahamas and safely towed them to local Bahamian authorities.

In the second search and rescue case, Dominican authorities reported a person in a 6-foot pedal boat adrift approximately 30 miles north of the Dominican Republic, Jan. 30. A nearby good Samaritan aboard the motor vessel, Holland Pearl, embarked the boater, who claimed to have been at sea for four days, and transferred him to the cutter Willow crew once they arrived on scene. The boater was safely transferred ashore to Puerto Rico.

"Even the most prepared boaters can experience bad luck at sea," said Cmdr. Margaret D. Kennedy, commanding officer of the cutter Willow. "However, that preparation can make all the difference. Thanks to the mayday call the Jeune Amelia made over their VHF-FM radio, we were able to get on scene and tow them to safety. It's a good reminder that anything can happen at sea and it's best to be prepared for all types of emergencies or equipment failures. I'm very proud of the hard work and great job by the crew of the Willow."

Cuba Begins Quarantine People for Suspected Coronavirus

February 3, 2020

Havana - The Cuban government has begun to isolate people who traveled to China in the past 14 days and who present consonious symptoms with the coronavirus 2019-nCoV, an action that the health authorities carry out sheltered by the disease detection protocol in the borders that was activated last week.

St.Lucia Turns Away Cruise Due to Coronavirus Concerns

February 1, 2020

The vessel, with a capacity of close to 3300 passengers, was scheduled to berth at Point Seraphine at about 7:30am Saturday February 1st.

Health Officials said that multiple individuals on board the Aida Perla were presenting cases of “upper respiratory tract infections” and the vessel was turned away, “in accordance with the Health Declaration”

Haiti Remembers Victims of 2010 Earthquake

January 12, 2020

Haitians recalled on Sunday the victims of the huge earthquake that claimed the lives of more than 100,000 people a decade ago, although the ceremony was marked by a protest against political mismanagement on the island at the time and today.

President Jovenel Moise leaving flowers on an altar in memory of the victims in a cemetery outside the capital Port-au-Prince, where he appeared accompanied by priests, government officials and foreign ambassadors.

"The earthquake of January 12, 2010 left deep and indelible scars in the memory of an entire town," said the president.

The 7.0 magnitude earthquake that shook the Haitian capital and its surroundings shortly before 5 pm left between 100,000 and 300,000 dead. Thousands of victims still do not have an adequate shelter a decade later, and the response to the long-term disaster is perceived as a failure of both the Haitian government and foreign countries and aid groups.

Marie-Andre Michelle, 42, said her 15 and 18-year-old children died in the quake, and although she didn't know if they were buried in the San Cristophe cemetery, she saved to buy flowers to leave at the altar in honor of the victims.

The police prevented a small group of protesters, headed by the renowned Haitian comedian Mathias Dandor, from arriving at the ceremony, although they later accessed the altar and destroyed the crown of flowers that Moise left, replacing it with thier own.

5.7 Earthquake Near Puerto Rico on January 6, 2020 Caused Damage to Many Homes

Haiti President Reaffirms Commitment To Stay In Office

December 26, 2019

On Monday, President Jovenel Moise doubled down on his commitment to stay in office despite widespread calls for his resignation. In a speech, he said those who have an issue with his governance should take it up with him when his term is over on Feb. 7, 2022, Le Nouvelliste reported

Moise also promised to continue working on improving Haiti’s energy sector, saying that while the improvements he seeks may hurt a few people, it’ll ultimately be the best move for the majority of the population.

Cuba Names its First Prime Minister Since 1976

December 22, 2019

Cuban Tourism Minister Manuel Marrero Cruz has been named by President Miguel Diaz-Canel as the country's first prime minister since 1976.

Marrero, 56, has been tourism minister for 16 years, presiding over a rise in visitors and a hotel construction boom that has made tourism one of the most important sectors of the Cuban economy.

Diaz-Canel cited Marrero's experience in negotiating with foreign investors as one of his prime qualifications, according to state media.

Marrero's confirmation by the National Assembly was expected later on Saturday.

The position of prime minister was held by Fidel Castro from 1959 to 1976, when a new constitution changed his title to president and eliminated the post of prime minister.

Castro and his brother Raul held the presidential post along with Cuba's other highest positions, like Communist Party leader, until this year.

Raul Castro stepped down as president and a new constitution divided the president's responsibilities between Castro's successor, Miguel Diaz-Canel, and the new post of prime minister.

The new constitution envisions the prime minister as responsible for the daily operations of government as head of the Council of Ministers.

The prime minister has a five-year term and is nominated by Diaz-Canel and approved by the National Assembly, which unanimously approves every proposal put before it, with one known exception in recent history.

Dominica's Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit

Amid Corruption & Bribery Allegations, Dominica's Roosevelt Skerrit Re-elected for an Unprecedented 5th Term

December 8th, 2019

Dominicans went to the polls of Friday and reelected the incumbent Prime Minister, Roosevelt Skerrit for a 5th term in office.

Skerrit's win came as a surprise to many in the Caribbean nation of 75,000. He had been under pressure to step down when it was made public that he allegedly took hundreds of thousands of dollars for his 2014 election campaign from an Iranian businessman named Alireza Monfared in exchange for an ambassadorship for Dominica to Malaysia. 

Both Skerrit and Seraphin have denied the allegations of selling diplomatic passports in return for diplomatic posts.

In an attempt to stop the elections, a group called the Concerned Citizens' Movement (CCM) had asked the country's High Court to postpone the vote until after February 5, 2020, to allow for the promised reforms to take place.

The court, however, said on Tuesday it did not have the authority to hold off on the election and decided the vote had to continue.

On Wednesday, UWP supporters set up roadblocks, stopping traffic to the airport and forcing people to walk to the airfield.

The protesters said Skerrit had not acted on a promise to implement reforms aimed at decreasing the ruling party's election advantage, local media reported.

Cruise Lines cancelled cruises to island for the week ahead of the Elections.

An independent Commonwealth Observer Group (COG) deployed in Dominica, has delivered its interim statement on the 2019 Dominica General Elections, stating the election results ‘reflect the collective will of the people who voted.’

The ten-person observer team was led by Chairperson, Zainab Bangura, a former Minister of Foreign Affairs of Sierra Leone and former Under-Secretary-General at the United Nations.

Dozens Dead as Migrant Boat Sinks off Mauritania Coast

December 5, 2019

At least 62 people, including children, were killed after a boat carrying dozens of migrants capsized in the Atlantic Ocean off the West African nation of Mauritania, the UN's migration agency said.

The perilous sea passage from West Africa to Europe was once a major route for migrants seeking jobs and prosperity.

The sinking is one of the deadliest incidents since the mid-2000s when Spain stepped up patrols and fewer boats attempted the journey.

The boat carrying at least 150 people ran out of fuel and was stranded for days when approaching Mauritania before it capsised.

Some 83 people swam to shore. The survivors were being helped by Mauritanian authorities in the northern city of Nouadhibou, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) said.

IOM initially put the death toll at 58, but confirmed four more bodies were later found.

Survivors said the vessel left The Gambia on November 27. IOM's Leonard Doyle said the boat was unseaworthy and overcrowded when it overturned

.An unknown number of injured were taken to hospital in Nouadhibou.

There was no immediate statement from authorities in The Gambia, a small West African nation from which many migrants set off in hopes of reaching Europe.

November 15th, 2019

Haiti TPS Extended To January 2021

Earlier this month, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced that it would extend the validity of documentation of certain foreign nationals under Temporary Protected Status (TPS) designations.

The notice, which was published in the November 4 Federal Register, will apply to TPS beneficiaries from El Salvador, Haiti, Honduras, Nepal, Nicaragua, and Sudan. TPS-related documentation, including Employment Authorization Documents (EAD), Forms I-797, and Forms I-94, will be automatically extended by this notice until January 4, 2021. TPS designations for these countries were previously set to expire in January and March of 2020.

DHS is extending TPS documentation for these six countries in compliance with court orders issued in connection with several lawsuits challenging the government’s decision to end the TPS program for the designated countries. Beneficiaries of this extension may show the automatically extended EAD to employers as evidence of employment authorization. Individuals who filed for EAD renewal, where the renewal remains pending, also receive the benefit of the automatic extension. 

U.S. giving more food to Haiti as roadblocks, violent protests worsen hunger crisis

The U.S. Agency for International Development will distribute 2,000 metric tons of emergency food — rice, green peas and cooking oil — in Haiti, where two months of sustained anti-government protests, sporadic violence and political gridlock have led to increased hunger and made it difficult to deliver humanitarian aid.

“Given recent developments there, we recognize that this is a largely political crisis but it has had a humanitarian impact,” a USAID official said. “We made a determination in recent days that ... there are some significant impacts as a result of the current crisis, which warrant us providing some additional assistance.”

Last month, Haiti’s Foreign Minister Bocchit Edmond wrote to U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo asking for urgent humanitarian assistance and logistics support to deliver it. The logistics support was interpreted as U.S. soldiers delivering the food as the U.S. has done in times of natural disaster.

But there will be no U.S. soldiers handing out food rations, said the USAID official, noting that distributions will be made by the United Nations’ World Food Program. Also, he said the decision to provide the emergency food, which was made Wednesday, was not in response to the Haitian government’s request but based on information from early warning systems and a new Haitian government report showing that 35 percent of Haitians — 3.67 million — are facing either a crisis or emergency when it comes to getting food.

US Insists Dialogue Key to Ending Haiti's Political Crisis

COTOBER 31ST, 2019

WASHINGTON - The U.S. position remains that Haiti’s president, Jovenel Moise, was democratically elected and that only a dialogue between the country’s stakeholders and elected officials can resolve the nation’s worsening political crisis.

“We recognize that Haitians are tired, that Haitians want jobs, they want a better life. That is why we are urging all political stakeholders to sit down together as soon as possible and enter into dialogue to discuss forming a government,” Jon Piechowski, deputy assistant secretary of state overseeing public diplomacy in the Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs, said Thursday.

The affirmation echoes a statement issued by the U.S. Embassy in Haiti last week expressing concern about the current state of affairs.

Haiti has been without a government since March, when Jean Henry Ceant was forced to resign amid corruption allegations and a no confidence vote. Moise’s subsequent nominees for the position failed to earn enough votes in both chambers of Parliament to be ratified.

In addition, a fuel price hike in July 2018, corruption allegations implicating the president’s businesses, high inflation, unemployment and rampant crime has roiled the nation, sparking nationwide protests to demand the president’s resignation.

 

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OCTOBER 28. 2019

Two dead as anti-government protests in Haiti turn violent

Two people were killed as several hundred police and their supporters demonstrated in Haiti's capital for better law enforcement salaries on Sunday, police said, while anti-government marchers also took to the streets.

The first victim was shot during a protest demanding that President Jovenel Moise step down. The man who opened fire on the crowd of marchers was beaten to death and then burned by demonstrators.

"An unidentified individual was shot dead," the Haitian police said in a statement. "The angry crowd set fire to his attacker."

With their faces hidden, several plainclothes police fired in the air near the anti-government protesters. Several large bursts of gunfire from unidentified individuals were then heard right next to the area where protesters were marching.

Prior to the protests, police officers had presented their grievances at the headquarters of the Haitian National Police.

"Our wages are miserable. We don't have insurance. We have an insurance card but at every hospital we go to, we have to pay," a masked police officer told AFP, asking to remain anonymous for fear of reprisals.

As they have for two months, presidential detractors demanded that Moise resign. They were joined by some churchgoers on their way out of services.

Since coming to power in February 2017, Moise has had to face the anger of an opposition movement that refuses to recognize his victory in an election widely seen as dubious.

Anger mounted in late August due to a national fuel shortage, and protests turned violent. But even before this crisis erupted, Moise was accused of corruption. An auditors' court probing two billion dollars in aid from a Venezuelan oil fund found that companies run by Moise before he became president were "at the heart of an embezzling scheme."

(Source: AFP)