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US CBP, Coast Guard Apprehend 18 Stowaway Migrants in a Barge Arriving in San Juan

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and the U.S. Coast Guard apprehended Tuesday 18 non-citizens of the Dominican Republic that arrived into the Port of San Juan stowed away in a barge arriving from Jacksonville, Florida.  

“Incidents like these are a clear indication of the great lengths and personal risks people are willing to take to illegally enter the United States,” said Roberto Vaquero, CBP’s Director of Field Operations in San Juan. “I am very proud of the diligence and professionalism demonstrated by our CBP Officers and partner agencies in our ongoing efforts to protect our borders and communities.” 

A U.S. Coast Guard Sector San Juan 45-foot response boat retrieved 16 migrants from the water, who jumped from an arriving barge. A video posted on social media was filmed during the incident.  

CBP Officers approached and boarded the barge M/V Brooklyn Bridge with a CBP K9.  During the inspection CBP Officers found two female migrants and one duffle bag containing 10 bricks of cocaine and 1 firearm.  

U.S. Border Patrol agents arrested the 16 migrants that jumped in the water and transported them to the Ramey Border Patrol Station for processing under US immigration law. 

The two females are being processed by CBP Officers also under US immigration law. 

The contents of the duffle bag, including 25 pounds (11.5 kilograms) of cocaine and a handgun, and how the non-citizens managed to smuggle themselves onto the barge are under investigation by Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).  The estimated value of the seized cocaine is $264,500.