Shootout With Narcos Leaves One U.S. Border Agent Dead, At Least Two Others Injured

Shootout With Narcos Leaves One U.S. Border Agent Dead, At Least Two Others Injured

Drug smugglers off the coast of Puerto Rico shot and killed a U.S. border agent and injured at least two others Thursday morning.

The Washington Examiner reports three Customs and Border Protection’s Air and Marine Operations agents were involved in a shootout with narcos on board a suspected smuggling vessel upon approach near the coast of Cabo Rojo, Puerto Rico.

“The marine agents suffered various gunshot injuries as a result,” border patrol agents told The Washington Examiner. “The agents are being airlifted by CBP and Coast Guard to the Puerto Rico Trauma Center.”

Local media reports the agents stopped the drug smugglers when they were allegedly transferring narcotics between vessels.

CBP spokesman Jeffrey Quiñones told The Associated Press one of two suspected smugglers died.

The Examiner later reported authorities placed two men into federal custody for the maritime shooting of multiple U.S. border agents.

Air and Marine Operations teams have approximately 1,800 federal agents and personnel that confront security threats through aviation and maritime law enforcement. The division uses 240 aircraft and 300 marine vessels that operate throughout the United States, Puerto Rico, and U.S. Virgin Islands.

According to the border patrol website, Air and Marine Operations teams seized or disrupted 324,772 pounds of cocaine, 779,725 pounds of marijuana, 1,191 pounds of fentanyl, 18,548 pounds of methamphetamine, 900 weapons, and $73.3 million, and led to 1,119 arrests, and 122,035 apprehensions of undocumented individuals during the Fiscal Year 2021.

Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee top Republican Ohio Sen. Rob Portman cited the report during a hearing about threats to the homeland.

Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said Portman mentioned the loss of one of the front-line agents, adding several others were wounded.

“These are brave members of our Air and Marine Operations within U.S. Customs and Border Protection, so the difficulty of this job cannot be compared to the difficulty that our front-line personnel face every day — and their bravery and selfless service should be recognized,” Mayorkas said.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations agents began investigating the situation.