The cat-and-mouse game between Border Patrol agents and people attempting to sneak across the Rio Grande changes dramatically when air support arrives.
CBS 4 News reporter Tiffany Huertas accompanied pilots with the U.S. Customs Protection Air and Marine Operations division, who offered her a firsthand look at how they work with Border Patrol agents on the ground.
Several people had just climbed over the border fence west of the Hidalgo-Reynosa International Bridge when the helicopter arrived. Equipped with night-vision technology, the helicopter crew quickly told Border Patrol agents exactly where the people were hiding.
“That big tree down there by the light cart. OK, you got a couple in that big tree,” said Air Enforcement Agent Shannon Lipps, who previously worked as a Border Patrol agent on the ground. “The rest are just laid up in the grass by the levee.”
Then a green light started illuminating the cockpit.
“Ah! This knucklehead from Mexico is lasing us,” Lipps said.
The helicopter crew could see someone in Mexico pointing a laser at them, but couldn’t do anything about it.
“We’ll pass that information on to sector. Sector will call their counterparts in the government of Mexico. Whether they make contact with these subject or not, we don’t know,” Lipps said.