Four migrants were served criminal complaints by Customs and Border Protection in Puerto Rico on Thursday after allegedly threatening U.S. Coast Guard from their vessel when it was intercepted on Tuesday. File Photo by Yuri Gripas/UPI | License Photo
June 1 (UPI) -- Four migrants were served criminal complaints by Customs and Border Protection in Puerto Rico on Thursday after allegedly threatening U.S. Coast Guard from their vessel when it was intercepted near Puerto Rico on Tuesday.
Alfredo Rodriguez-Moya, 23; Johan Jerber-Jaramillo, 22; Francisco Santos-Cedeño, 36; and Jean Enus Demosthene, 43; were expected to appear in front of U.S. Magistrate Marshal Morgan charged with attempted improper entry; failure to heave; and assaulting, resisting, or impeding certain officers or employees.
CBP said the Dominican Republic issued an arrest warrant for Jerber-Jaramillo as a suspect in a murder investigation.
The four were found in a "yola" vessel about 17 nautical miles northwest of Aguadilla, Puerto Rico when they were spotted by the Coast Guard, CBP said in a statement.
"On May 30, a Coast Guard Cutter reached a yola-type vessel navigating east with 29 non-citizens of unknown nationalities," CBP said. "During the event, the smuggling vessel failed to heave and only stopped due to engine problems.
"The Coast Guard crew approached the vessel and reported that the four defendants were making threatening gestures, wielding machetes, and attempting to assault personnel by throwing objects."
CBP Air and Marine Operations agents eventually took the four into custody, transporting them to the Crash Boat Pier in Aguadilla, where Ramey Station Border Patrol agents took custody.
"Migrants attempting to enter without authorization are being processed under Title 8 authorities and may face prosecution," Desi DeLeon, chief patrol agent for the Ramey Border Patrol Sector, said in a statement.
"Using a standardized protocol and applying a consequence model, the Caribbean Border Interagency Group collaborates and maintains open communication to address such illegal entry attempts and other threats."
If convicted, the four defendants face up to 20 years of imprisonment, a fine up to $250,000, or both.
Human and drug smuggling is not uncommon around the waterway of Puerto Rico. In April, border officials intercepted a vessel transporting 1,455 pounds of cocaine in a similar yola vessel eight nautical miles north of Las Picuas Rio Grande, Puerto Rico. Four were arrested in that incident.