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CBP Unmanned Aircraft Detects, Border Patrol Apprehends Fugitive

The unmanned aircraft is an important tool among many that CBP applies to our border security efforts.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection's unmanned aircraft, CBP 104, detected and assisted Border Patrol agents in the apprehension of a wanted fugitive in the vicinity of Anderson Mine along the Arizona border with Mexico around midnight Tuesday (EDT).

The CBP Air and Marine unmanned aircraft detected and tracked six suspected aliens during surveillance operations along the Arizona border with Mexico. CBP Border Patrol agents and Air Interdiction Agents responded to the scene, arresting all six aliens, one of which is wanted for child rape in King County, Washington.

"There is no greater illustration of Customs and Border Protection's critical mission of protecting our borders than the apprehension of a suspected child rapist," said W. Ralph Basham, Commissioner, U.S. Customs and Border Protection. "The unmanned aircraft is an important tool among many that CBP applies to our border security efforts. We will use every available asset and commit every available resource to ensure criminals and terrorists have no chance of illegal entry."

CBP turned over the suspect to the Santa Cruz County Sheriff's Office for extradition to the Washington state and removed the five other aliens apprehended at the scene. This event also resulted in the seizure of 395 pounds of marijuana.

CBP unmanned aircraft systems have flown nearly 2,000 hours, directly contributing to more than 3,900 arrests and the seizure of approximately 13,660 pounds of marijuana. CBP UAS support CBP's primary mission of securing the border and preventing acts of terrorism by providing a long-duration intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capability to augment crewed law enforcement aircraft and watercraft and Border Patrol agents.

CBP Air and Marine Office launched its newest unmanned aircraft system, CBP 104, Oct. 30, 2006. It operates out of the CBP Air and Marine UAS Operation Center in Sierra Vista, Ariz., which is a component of the CBP Air and Marine Tucson Air Branch.
The UAS is a key component of CBP's border security strategy, acting as a force multiplier to air and marine interdiction agents and Border Patrol agents operating in their respective environments.

The Predator B may fly for 30 hours at a time covering up to 2,800 nautical miles at altitudes over 50,000 feet. CBP is working with the Federal Aviation Administration to gain access to the National Airspace System. CBP's UAS is not armed. CBP Air and Marine employs the UAS mostly at night along remote areas on the land border.