BELLINGHAM, Wash. — U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s, Air and Marine Operations (AMO), Bellingham Air and Marine Branch conducted aerial surveillance, in coordination with the Whatcom County Sheriff’s Office to locate an inmate who escaped from a work crew.
The incident began around 7 p.m. on Tuesday when the Bellingham Air and Marine Branch received an aerial support request from the Whatcom County Sheriff’s Office to help search for two men who escaped from a work crew.
While searching a rural area in Sumas, the AS350 crewmembers spotted the two men. As the sheriff’s office closed in, the suspects fled into thick vegetation. The helicopter crew continued to search, but it eventually had to leave the area to refuel. At approximately, 10 p.m. the Bellingham Air and Marine Branch launched a second crew and located both men. The sheriff’s office took one of the men into custody; however, the other man was able to evade arrest and fled back into the tree line. After an exhaustive search for the second suspect, WCSO called off the air support request from AMO until further notice.
The sheriff’s office apprehended the remaining fugitive around 10 a.m. Wednesday.
“Working in conjunction with the Whatcom County Sheriff’s Office, the Bellingham Air and Marine Branch was able to locate a fugitive and ensure he was returned to custody where he can continue to face justice,” said Jeremy Thompson, Director, Air and Marine Operations, Bellingham Air and Marine Branch. “Through our excellent working relationships with local, state and other federal agencies, we are bringing a whole-of-government approach to protecting our communities and keeping our nation safe from all threats.”