NEW ORLEANS – U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Air and Marine Operations (AMO) efforts in the Gulf of Mexico led to the rescue of 12 Cuban migrants on a make-shift raft and 3 fisherman on a disabled vessel.
On the afternoon of September 20, an AMO DHC-8 Maritime Patrol Aircraft crew from the New Orleans Air and Marine Branch located an overloaded raft with Cuban migrants onboard in the southern Gulf of Mexico. The crew passed the craft’s position to a U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) cutter in the area. The Coast Guard crew provided the migrants with food, water, and life preservers before handing them over to the Mexican Navy for transport.
Two hours later, the DHC-8 crew identified a fishing vessel in distress. The AMO crew observed flares coming from the vessel and three people onboard waving their arms and flags to attract the attention of the crew.
Through coordination between Joint Interagency Task Force-South and USCG District 7, a commercial cargo vessel crew transiting in the area was able to provide assistance to the disabled fishing vessel crew.
“I’m privileged to work for an agency that enables our agents to conduct enforcement missions, and provide humanitarian aid and rescue assistance all in a single day,” said Francisco Rodriguez, Director, Air Operations, at the New Orleans Air and Marine Branch. “I’m proud of our agents for their continued hard work and professionalism.”
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.