In June 1924, the first Border Patrol Sector Headquarters was activated at Detroit with the organization of a sector extending from Port Sanilac, Michigan, to Port Clinton, Ohio. Detroit was the sole station at Sector Headquarters, with an initial complement of 18 officers. The Detroit Station was to function in much the same manner as a sub-sector but under the direct command of the Sector Chief Patrol Inspector.
The need for a Border Patrol station in Detroit had become increasingly apparent following passage of the Volstead Act inaugurating the Prohibition era. Liquor smuggling across the Detroit River was rapidly expanding, and was closely associated with a mounting volume of alien smuggling. Rum runners were crossing the international border within the future Sector's boundaries with large loads of contraband liquor and crews of illegal entrants. In testimony before the Senate Appropriations Committee immediately prior to formation of the Border Patrol, the Commissioner of Immigration testified that at least a hundred aliens a day were being smuggled into the United States across the Detroit and St. Clair Rivers.
Agents assigned to the Detroit Station conduct marine operations during the boating season, along with freight train check, and anti-smuggling activities. During the non-boating season, agents patrol the shorelines.