Past Features

June 14, 2017

Unusual Border Activity
Increased threat?

Strange helicopter and location of three of five nearby US Border Patrol vehicles
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Glenn Spencer -- June 14, 2017
What were five BP units and a strange helicopter doing?
    Late yesterday I was shooting some drone video of the site of this year's Flags Along the Border event when I decided to include a U.S. Border Patrol vehicle parked nearby. As I did I noticed another BP vehicle just to the east. This was very unusual. As I headed further toward the second unit, I could hear a helicopter near the San Pedro River - a well-known drug smuggling corridor.
    I spotted the helicopter and headed toward it (being ready to get out of the way, or land, if necessary). As I approached the river I spotted two more BP vehicles, making four within a 1/2-mile section of the border (there was another just east of the river). This is very unusual, to the say the least.
    My property overlooks the river. For the past thirteen years I have seen Customs and Border Patrol choppers flying over the river, oftentimes searching for suspects, dozens of times --- but I have never seen anything like this.
    First, the chopper did not have CBP markings. At first I thought it was the Cochise County helicopter, but a close examination showed it was not their chopper. Second, while the Border Patrol usually stations one unit at the river and one that patrols between the river and five miles west, I have never seen four units clumped together as they were yesterday. (Including one just east of the river, the total was five,)
    There is no question that U.S. Border Patrol units were coordinating a search with that helicopter. My question is: Who was operating that helicopter and what was so unusual that the Border Patrol need five units where they normally have one? Why didn't they use a Customs and Border Protection helicopter - were they all busy elsewhere?
    This morning I noticed two BP vehicles near the border parked facing the river in what appeared to be a defensive stance that is very unusual.
    Is this a sign of an increased threat at the border near my home?
UPDATE: ABP has done another survey of the affected area on the border this morning and things appear to be back to normal as of 9:30 AM MST.