U.S. Coast Guard Calls Off Search For 6 Cubans

MIAMI (AP) — Coast Guard officials have abandoned a search for six Cuban migrants illegally traveling by boat between the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico.

According to a Coast Guard statement Wednesday, a family member in the U.S. alerted authorities Saturday that the migrants’ boat was overdue. The relative told authorities that the boat was carrying three men and three women when it left Juan Dolio Beach in the Dominican Republic on Dec. 17.

The Coast Guard called off its search for the boat and its passengers Tuesday evening after searching roughly 22,000 square miles south of the Dominican Republic and in the Mona Passage.

Authorities say illegal attempts to cross the dangerous Mona Passage have spiked this year, especially among Haitians. The Coast Guard says the trips are organized by criminal networks.

(© Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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