Thursday, April 01, 2004

PR: $700-$1,000 per trip

An alleged migrant smuggling ring built wooden boats in Puerto Rico and used them to pick up undocumented Dominicans, sneaking them into this U.S. territory for a fee, authorities said.

Ten suspects have been arrested out of 18 indicted by a federal grand jury for participation in the ring, U.S. Attorney Humberto Garcia said Wednesday. Those indicted last week include three Puerto Ricans and 15 Dominicans.

Garcia said the boats were built in a boatyard in the San Juan suburb of Catano, where authorities seized three boats.

He said the alleged smugglers "put at risk the lives of Dominican citizens and others" and "charge an exorbitant price."

The group allegedly charged Dominicans between US$700 and US$1,000 per person for the trip.
The smugglers also endanger U.S. security.

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