SILOAM SPRINGS, Ark. - U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s Office of Air and Marine (OAM) identified a suspect aircraft at the Smith Field Airport in Siloam Springs, Arkansas, March 5, resulting in the arrest of the pilot and the seizure of approximately 45 pounds of contraband.
Based on a call from a concerned citizen, the Air and Marine Operations Center (AMOC) in Riverside, California, detected and tracked the Cessna 310 twin-engine airplane. AMOC personnel requested assistance from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) out of Fayetteville, Arkansas, to meet the aircraft upon landing.
A canine unit from the Rogers Police Department responded at approximately 5:30 p.m., and yielded a positive alert on the aircraft. HSI special agents obtained a warrant to search the aircraft and discovered approximately 45 pounds of high-grade marijuana on board.
“We rely on every citizen to be part of our team in our efforts to keep America safe,” said Tony Crowder, Director of AMOC. “The willingness of citizens to be mindful of their surroundings and alert authorities to anomalies is the cornerstone of a safe and peaceful environment.”
The Rogers Police Department arrested the pilot, took custody of the contraband and seized the airplane.
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.