On May 22, Air Interdiction Agent Robert Smith died when the helicopter he was flying crashed into a backyard in San Elizario, Tex. Agent Smith's mission was to assist CBP Border Patrol agents in arresting three illegal immigrants who had crossed the riverbank.
Agent Smith, who began his career in 1991 with the U.S. Customs Service, was serving at the El Paso air branch. He is survived by his wife, Bridgett, two stepchildren, and his parents. Agent Smith was 46 years old at the time of his death.
"The loss of Agent Smith reminds us once again of the frailty of human life and of the risks that our frontline personnel face every day," said U.S. Customs and Border Protection Commissioner W. Ralph Basham. "His death is the fifth in the line of duty this year. Agent Smith, who will be remembered as a hero-strong and courageous, is joining an honored group that already has far too many members."