TUCSON, Ariz. – U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Air and Marine Operations (AMO) crews conducted two rescues of United States Border Patrol (USBP) agents on the same day.
On March 29, a Tucson Air Branch H125 A-Star crew on patrol responded to a Casa Grande Border Patrol Station report of an injured agent who had suffered a broken leg in an on-duty dirt bike incident. The A-Star crew landed, and a Border Patrol Search, Trauma, and Rescue (BORSTAR) agent triaged the agent’s injuries before he was flown to University Medical Center in Tucson for further treatment of a compound fracture of the agent’s ankle.
That same morning, a potentially life-threatening situation was averted because of the quick response and the unique capabilities of a Tucson Air Branch UH-60 crew. The aircrew responded to a request for aid from a Border Patrol agent in pursuit of a suspected migrant in the remote and rugged Baboquivari mountains. During the pursuit the migrant stumbled into an aggressive swarm of bees which attacked him and the pursuing agent. The Border Patrol agent endured multiple bee stings on his face and neck and the migrant suffered over 50 bee stings across his torso.
The aircrew lacked a suitable landing zone and hovered over the men to ward off the swarm that continued to attack if the helicopter was not directly overhead. The aircrew inserted an AMO Helicopter Rope Suspension Technique-qualified agent; suspending the migrant and Border Patrol agent via Air Rescue Vests from the rope and relocated them to another landing zone. The aircrew delivered the injured migrant to the Buenos Aires Refuel Site where he was transferred to an ambulance for treatment.
AMO agents frequently respond to search and rescue requests and are capable of dynamically shifting to accomplish humanitarian missions in challenging terrain and weather conditions because of specialized training and equipment. AMO crews conducted 447 rescues in Fiscal Year 2022. Fiscal Year 2023 to date, AMO crews have completed 59 rescues.
AMO safeguards our nation by anticipating and confronting security threats through our aviation and maritime law enforcement expertise, innovative capabilities, and partnerships at the border and beyond. With approximately 1,800 federal agents and mission support personnel, 240 aircraft and 300 marine vessels operating throughout the United States, Puerto Rico, and U.S. Virgin Islands, AMO serves as the nation’s experts in airborne and maritime law enforcement.
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.