Agency seeks to enshrine the new facility in honor of fallen agent
CABO ROJO, Puerto Rico — U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), Air and Marine Operations (AMO) continues to upgrade and modernize its operating locations and facilities by breaking ground Thursday of a new building for the Mayaguez Marine Unit, at the Boquerón ward.
“The Mayaguez Marine Unit is one of the busiest units in AMO’s marine program. This new facility will allow for AMO agents to better carry out their Homeland Security mission,” said Caribbean Air and Marine Branch Director, Augusto Reyes. “We will be more able to rapidly respond to a variety of missions and operations with the enhanced facility features.”
On hand for the groundbreaking were Jennifer Gonzalez, Resident Commissioner for Puerto Rico; Jorge Morales Wiscovitch, Mayor of the Municipality of Cabo Rojo; Jonathan Miller, Executive Director for Operations-AMO; John Priddy, Executive Director Southeast Region; Hector Montalvo, Director of the Border Patrol & AMO Program Office; and Jose Fabre, Executive Director, Budget Office at the CBP Office of Finance.
The Mayaguez Marine Unit has been conducting Department of Homeland Security missions from temporary mobile trailers at this location since 1997. These trailers are inadequate and have been in need of constant repair or replacement. A new, permanent facility located adjacent to AMO marine assets will greatly increase AMO ability to respond to border security threats in a timely manner.
In November of 2022, three AMO agents from the marine unit were involved in an exchange of gunfire with a suspected smuggling vessel. All three agents suffered gunshot wounds and Agent Michel Maceda died as a result of his injuries.
AMO seeks to enshrine the new facility in honor of Agent Maceda.
The new Mayaguez Facility will include over 13,000 square foot administrative operations building, a boat maintenance and storage hangar with hurricane tie downs, boat trailer parking, and state-of-the-art security systems. With a budget of approximately $18 million the project is expected to be completed in spring of 2024.
The Caribbean Air and Marine Branch consists of five marine units and an air unit and is the only federal law enforcement organization in the Caribbean Basin with integrated air and maritime interdiction capabilities. AMO uses radar facilities and assets to detect and intercept air and marine smuggling attempts in Puerto Rico and surrounding areas. The Caribbean Air and Marine Branch’s area of responsibility extends south to international waters of Venezuela, west to the Dominican Republic, and southeast to the Lesser Antilles.