09/17/2020 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 09/17/2020 12:16
EL PASO, Texas- U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Air and Marine Operations (AMO), AS350 aircrews based in West Texas conducted multiple individual rescues in extremely remote locations over a two-day period. AMO's unique aerial capabilities equip aircrews to detect distressed persons, maneuver through challenging terrain, and relocate injured persons. During the current fiscal year, El Paso Air Branch (EPAB) crews have rescued 24 individuals.
In a recent case, on September 5, an EPAB AS350 crew, from the Alpine Air Unit (AAU), responded to an aviation request from U.S. Border Patrol (USBP) Big Bend Sector to locate and rescue an individual in distress. The person had dialed 911 after suffering a snake bite. The aircrew was on patrol at the time of the call, and located the injured person at the top of a remote mountain in a position inaccessible to ground assets.
The aircrew donned personal protective equipment, made contact with the injured person (who had applied makeshift tourniquets above the snake bite). The man was in deteriorating condition. The aircrew transported him to Big Bend Regional Medical Center to receive treatment where medical personnel processed him accordingly.
On the same day, USBP Big Bend Sector, Marfa Station, requested aviation assistance for an agent in distress, potentially suffering from dehydration. In the early hours of September 6, an EPAB AS350 aircrew redirected from their assigned border enforcement mission to re-fuel locate, and rescue the stranded agent. The aircrew transported the agent to Big Bend Regional Medical Center for treatment where medical personnel released him later that day.
The AS350 Light Enforcement Helicopter (LEH) is a short-range, turbine-powered helicopter used by AMO to perform missions such as aerial patrol and surveillance of stationary or moving targets
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 2019, AMO enforcement actions resulted in the approximate seizure or disruption of 284,825 pounds of cocaine; 101,874 pounds of marijuana; 51,058 pounds of methamphetamine; 935 weapons and $34.1 million. AMO enforcement actions also facilitated 1,575 arrests and 52,036 apprehensions of illegal aliens.