CBP Helicopter Experiences Dangerous Situation after being Targeted by Laser from Canada

U.S. Customs and Border Protection Air and Marine Operations (AMO) AS-350 helicopter was struck by a laser beam while conducting operations over protests in Detroit.


On June 3, 2020, a U.S. Customs and Border Protection Air and Marine Operations (AMO) AS-350 helicopter was struck by a laser beam while conducting operations over protests in Detroit.

At approximately 10 p.m. on Wednesday evening, a Great Lakes Air and Marine crew operating near the Renaissance Center, detected their aircraft was being targeted by a green laser.

The crew immediately positioned the aircraft camera system on the point of origination, which was being emanated from Windsor, Ontario, and contacted the Windsor Ontario Control Tower to report the incident.

The Air Interdiction Agent in command of the aircraft was able to relay the exact location of the perpetrator, which the Control Tower relayed to Windsor Police.

The crew was then able to maneuver the aircraft along the Detroit River while keeping a constant visual on the subject until Windsor Police arrived and took the subject into custody.

“The Windsor Control Tower acted as a continuous relay to the police as the aircrew vectored them to the subject’s position which was critical to making this apprehension,” said Marc Sledge, Director, Air and Marine Operations, Great Lakes Air and Marine Branch. “I am very thankful that our pilots were not injured in this incident and that our Canadian counterparts were there to assist us at a moment’s notice.”

The public is reminded that lasers present a serious risk to aviator safety and can cause pilots to suffer flash blindness and other sudden vision problems, as well as permanent vision damage. Laser incidents also threaten the safety of innocent people on the ground.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection would also like to remind residents that owning a hand-held laser isn’t illegal, but shining it into a cockpit of an aircraft is a federal crime.

Someone convicted of interference with an aircraft can face 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

CBP.gov (June 2020) CBP Helicopter Experiences Dangerous Situation after being Targeted by Laser from Canada

Baltimore CBP Repatriates Priceless Artifacts to Cyprus Government Officials

U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s (CBP) Baltimore Field Office repatriated seven ancient coins, dating back to 81 BC, to the Embassy of Cyprus today that Baltimore CBP officers initially discovered in an air cargo shipment in April 2009.


Officers detained the antiquities, which dated to 400 BC, in 2009

U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s (CBP) Baltimore Field Office repatriated seven ancient coins, dating back to 81 BC, to the Embassy of Cyprus today that Baltimore CBP officers initially discovered in an air cargo shipment in April 2009.

An appraisal determined that the collection dated from the Roman Empire, from several periods during 81 BC through 217 AD. The collection includes:

  • Two bronze coins from an unspecified Roman period
  • One coin from the Ptolemaeus period, 81 BC -58 BC
  • One coin from the Augustus period, 27 BC – 14 AD
  • Two coins from the Tiberius period, 14-37 AD
  • One coin from the Severan period, 193 AD – 217 AD

“On behalf of U.S. Customs and Border Protection, I am honored to return these priceless national treasures to the government and citizens of Cyprus,” said Casey Durst, CBP’s Director of Field Operations in Baltimore. “Customs and Border Protection will continue to use our border authority to identify and rescue precious antiquities being smuggled by those who profit on the theft of another country’s historical and cultural property, and return them to their rightful owners.”

CBP officers from the Area Port of Baltimore initially encountered the ancient coins in April 2009 during an inspection of air cargo that arrived from London. This specific parcel was destined to a coin collector in Missouri.

CBP issued a letter to the consignee requesting any documentation they received from the government of Cyprus authorizing the lawful importation of these cultural artifacts.

Most countries have laws that protect their cultural property, such as art, artifacts, antiquities, or other archeological and ethnological material. These laws include export controls and national ownership of cultural property. Therefore, although they do not necessarily confer ownership, consignees or importers must have documents such as export permits and receipts when importing such items into the United States.

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In May 2009, the consignee admitted to not possessing authority from the government of Cyprus to import the artifacts, and CBP officers seized the coins.

Additionally, the parcel contained Chinese coins determined to be from the Zhou, Han and Western Han dynasties, dating from 400 BC through 220 AD.

CBP contracted an appraiser to determine the estimated ages of the artifacts.

The coin collector lost a protracted legal challenge to regain possession of the coins and CBP’s Office of International Affairs coordinated with the government of Cyprus to repatriate the coins during a ceremony today at their Embassy in Washington, D.C.

The Department of Homeland Security enforces the cultural property import restrictions agreed to in bilateral agreements that the United States has concluded with 20 countries and through emergency import restrictions for three additional countries. These bilateral agreements protect cultural property by restricting U.S. import of certain categories of archeological and ethnological material, thus reducing incentive for looting at heritage sites. Read more about these bilateral agreements on importation of cultural property.

CBP recorded 23 seizures of cultural property during 2019 with a domestic value of nearly $1 million. CBP partners with Immigration and Customs Enforcement in the detection, interception, investigation and repatriation of cultural property. Read more about ICE Cultural Property investigations.

CBP officers screen international travelers and cargo and search for illicit narcotics, unreported currency, weapons, counterfeit consumer goods, prohibited agriculture, and other illicit products that could potentially harm the American public, U.S. businesses, and our nation’s safety and economic vitality. Learn about what CBP accomplished during “A Typical Day” in 2019.

CBP.gov (February, 2020) Baltimore CBP Repatriates Priceless Artifacts to Cyprus Government Officials U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s Director of Baltimore Field Operations Casey Durst (left) presented seven ancient coins to Cyprus Ambassador Marios Lyssiotis Friday during a repatriation ceremony at the Cyprus Embassy in Washington, D.C. (Photo courtesy of CBP.)

CBP Assists US Law Enforcement Partners and British Royal Navy in $46.2 million in cocaine seizure in the Caribbean Sea

The US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has reported that the British Royal Navy and U.S. law enforcement partners seized 1,400 kilograms (3,086) pounds of cocaine and detained nine suspected smugglers


The US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has reported that the British Royal Navy and U.S. law enforcement partners seized 1,400 kilograms (3,086) pounds of cocaine and detained nine suspected smugglers following the interdiction of two separate drug smuggling events in the Caribbean Sea Jan. 24 and Jan. 30, 2020.

The US Coast Guard cutter Bear delivered the seized contraband and detainees from both cases to US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)-Homeland Security Investigations, and Drug Enforcement Administration special agents in San Juan, Puerto Rico, Tuesday.

The interdiction was a result of an international, multi-agency law enforcement effort in support of Operation Unified Resolve, Operation Caribbean Guard, Campaign Martillo (a joint, inter-agency, 20-nation collaborative counter narcotic effort), and the Caribbean Corridor Strike Force (CCSF) and will be prosecuted by the U.S. Federal District Court for the District of Puerto Rico.

In the first interdiction, the United Kingdom’s Royal Navy RFA Mounts Bay, while on patrol with a U.S. Coast Guard Law Enforcement Detachment (LEDET) and a Coast Guard Helicopter Interdiction Tactical Squadron (HITRON) armed helicopter onboard, detected two suspicious go-fast vessels, approximately 74 nautical miles south of St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands.

The RFA Mounts Bay launched the Coast Guard HITRON helicopter and the ship’s pursuit vessel with the Coast Guard LEDET to interdict both suspect vessels. 

The Coast Guard LEDET boarding team, with the assistance of RFA Mounts Bay crew members, boarded the suspected vessels, apprehending the seven men and seizing 42 bales of suspected contraband. 

In the second interdiction, a marine patrol aircraft detected a northbound target of interest, southeast of Isla Beata, Dominican Republic. The cutter Bear along with a helicopter responded to interdict the go-fast.  Cutter Bear’s Over the Horizon cutter boat and embarked helicopter arrived on scene and stopped the go-fast.  Cutter Bear’s boarding team detained the two men aboard the go-fast, after discovering 13 bales of suspected contraband.

CBP is part of the Caribbean Border Strike Force (CCSF); an initiative of the U.S. Attorney’s Office created to disrupt and dismantle major drug trafficking organizations operating in the Caribbean. CCSF is part of the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF), which investigates South American-based drug trafficking organizations responsible for the movement of multi-kilogram quantities of narcotics using the Caribbean as a transshipment point for further distribution to the United States.

CBP.gov (February, 2020) CBP Assists US Law Enforcement Partners and British Royal Navy in $46.2 million in cocaine seizure in the Caribbean Sea

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