ALEXANDRIA, La. - U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s Office of Air and Marine (OAM) identified and interdicted a suspect aircraft at the Alexandria International Airport in Alexandria, Louisiana, Feb. 11.
OAM’s efforts resulted in the arrest of two men and the seizure of more than 34 pounds of contraband.
The Air and Marine Operations Center (AMOC) in Riverside, California, initially detected and tracked the aircraft. After identifying an anomaly, AMOC personnel requested Air Interdiction Agents from the New Orleans OAM Branch to further investigate at the airport.
A New Orleans-based Cessna 210 aircrew arrived around 9:30 a.m., contacted the pilot and passenger, and completed a pilot certificate inspection. When the pilot refused a consent search, a canine unit on stand-by responded and yielded a positive alert.
The Louisiana State Police (LSP) Bureau of Investigation, in conjunction with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), searched the aircraft, and discovered more than 34 pounds of high-grade marijuana and more than 20 ounces of hashish, with a combined estimated value of $160,000.
“The vigilance and collaboration of AMOC personnel, OAM agents, HSI agents, and our state and local partners, uniquely fills a critical security need for America,” said Tony Crowder, Director of AMOC. “This event is an example of many instances of effective teamwork.”
LSP arrested Mr. George Marshall of Gulf Shores, Alabama, and John Marshall of Grass Valley, California, and seized the transport aircraft, a Mooney M201.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection is the unified border agency within the Department of Homeland Security charged with the management, control and protection of our nation's borders at and between the official ports of entry. CBP is charged with keeping terrorists and terrorist weapons out of the country while enforcing hundreds of U.S. laws.