WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), Air and Marine Operations (AMO) Northern Region crews conducted 15 rescues between June 5 and July 12, 2023.
Recent rescue events involving crews of AMO’s Northern Region include:
On June 28, a Rochester, N.Y., AMO Marine Unit 38-foot SAFE Boat crew observed a sailing vessel that appeared to be in distress. The crew approached the sailboat and saw one person onboard. As the crew approached, agents noticed a second person in the water who appeared to be in distress approximately 50 yards from the sailboat. Agents rescued that person, observed signs of hypothermia, and provided medical attention. The AMO agents then determined that the person remaining on the sailboat did not have control of the vessel and towed the sailboat to the nearest marina.
On July 3, an Erie, Pa., Marine Unit 38’ SAFE Boat crew was conducting a joint patrol with U.S. Border Patrol partners when AMO agents heard radio traffic indicating a vessel had overturned and that people were in the water. Agents confirmed the location of the vessel, which was approximately 10 miles west of Erie, and sped to the location. Upon arriving, a good Samaritan flagged down the AMO boat crew and reported that they recovered all of the persons from the water. Agents conducted a quick assessment and transferred four people from the good Samaritan vessel to the 38’SAFE Boat. Agents treated the rescued individuals for hypothermia. Upon arrival at Walnut Creek Marina, the agents met with officers from the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission who investigated the incident and interviewed the recreational boaters.
On July 12, during a return flight from Turner, Montana, an AS350 helicopter pilot spotted a capsized vessel floating downstream on the Missouri River. After turning back, the AMO pilot observed an individual floating next to the vessel. The individual motioned for help and swam to shore. The pilot then observed two additional people in the water make their way to another shore location. The AMO pilot landed on a nearby sandbar, assessed the condition of two people, and loaded them into the helicopter. The AMO pilot retrieved the first person and delivered all three individuals five miles upriver to the Widow Coulee Fishing access where the three boaters parked their vehicles. All individuals appeared to be unharmed. The pilot notified local law enforcement of the rescue and reported the location of the capsized boat.
AMO's Northern Region (NR) operating environment differs vastly from other AMO regions and requires a unique law enforcement approach. The NR area of responsibility (AOR) extends from the state of Washington to Maine and includes 4,668 miles of land and water along the shared U.S.–Canadian border. he AOR encompasses regional non‐border states, the upper Pacific Northwest, and the Great Lakes system.
The NR conducts persistent border security operations through linked surveillance and sensor technologies; strategic air and marine missions; intelligence sharing activities; and operational coordination with U.S.–foreign law enforcement enterprise partners.
The NR maintains primary responsibility for coordinating aviation and maritime operational security packages for designated National Special Security Events. Additionally, the NR collaborates with federal law enforcement partners by employing specialized aviation and maritime capabilities to target and dismantle high‐threat elements of transnational criminal organizations operating in major U.S. cities within the AOR.
In Fiscal Year 2022, AMO enforcement actions resulted in 967 arrests and 134,981 apprehensions of undocumented individuals, as well as the seizure or disruption of 250,616 pounds of cocaine, 1,475 pounds of fentanyl, 25,625 pounds of methamphetamine, 1,342 weapons, and $21.7 million.