RUTLAND, Vt. - An Air and Marine Operations aircrew piloting an AS350 A-Star and assigned out of the Plattsburgh, N.Y. Air Unit responded to a Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) request for aerial surveillance during interagency search warrants of multiple residences suspected of being linked to drug and human trafficking activity
On October 22, during the HSI-led operation, Federal agents arrested one person and rescued three women who are suspected victims of human trafficking at one of the residences.
“The collaboration between CBP, HSI, and our law enforcement partners provided for a successful rescue of women being held against their will” said Jeremiah Rogers, Acting Director, Manassas Air Branch. “Our aircrews continuously partner with our federal and local law enforcement partners to provide an integral asset from the air.”
Prior to the implementation of the search warrant, law enforcement officers had developed information that women were being confined against their will at one of the residences. During the execution of the search warrant, Vermont state troopers and HSI special agents discovered evidence of potential human trafficking that included a suspicious padlocked apartment door and chain-link storage areas. The three women were discovered behind the padlocked door, evaluated by Emergency Medical Services, and were subsequently medically cleared.
During the HSI-led operation the AMO aircrew partnered with members of HSI Burlington, The Center for Countering Human Trafficking, Vermont State Police Tactical Services Unit, HSI Boston Field Office Special Response Team, Bureau of Criminal Investigations, Narcotics Investigation Unit, and the uniformed troopers from the Field Force Division, Rutland City Police Department, and Rutland County Sheriff’s Office.
The human trafficking of these women remains under current investigation.
Air and Marine Operations safeguards our nation by anticipating and confronting security threats through our aviation and maritime law enforcement expertise, innovative capabilities, and partnerships at the border and beyond. With approximately 1,800 federal agents and mission support personnel, 240 aircraft and 300 marine vessels operating throughout the United States, Puerto Rico, and U.S. Virgin Islands, AMO serves as the nation’s experts in airborne and maritime law enforcement.
In Fiscal Year 2020, AMO enforcement actions resulted in the seizure or disruption of 194,220 pounds of cocaine, 278,492 pounds of marijuana, 15,985 pounds of methamphetamine, 952 weapons and $51.5 million as well as 1,066 arrests and 47,872 apprehensions of undocumented migrants.