Havre, Mont. - On Wednesday, U.S. Border Patrol agents from the St. Mary Border Patrol Station and Customs and Border Protection Air Interdiction agents from the Montana Air Branch teamed up with officers from the Blackfeet Department of Homeland Security to conduct welfare checks on snow-bound ranchers on the Blackfeet Reservation.
The Border Patrol's mission of border security includes the goal of maintaining partnerships with other agencies to make border communities safer. St. Mary Station Patrol Agent in Charge Erik Dubbe said, "Working with our law enforcement partners to help the communities is a satisfying part of the job. We have developed a close working relationship with the Blackfeet Tribe."
Heavy snow and extremely cold temperatures reaching down to about 35 degrees below zero had hit the eastern side of the Rocky Mountains, and Robert DesRosier, director of the Blackfeet Department of Homeland Security, was concerned about the welfare of several ranchers. DesRosier and Deputy Keith LameBear requested assistance from the Border Patrol in reaching the snow-bound residents on the Blackfeet Reservation. PAIC Dubbe assigned two agents to assist, and also requested assistance from the CBP Montana Air Branch, who had a Blackhawk helicopter in the area.
Air Interdiction agents (pilots) flew the group to several isolated ranches on the reservation, some more than seven miles off the main road, to make sure the residents were safe and had food. Because of the heavy snow, all the roads in the rural areas were impassable by automobiles. All the residents they checked were safe, but were running out of food. The agents and officers returned to their stations without incident, and tribal officials returned to the ranches the next day with off-road vehicles to deliver food and supplies.
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.