A U.S. border helicopter was forced to make an emergency landing near the American-Mexican border when gunfire went off on Friday. The helicopter belonged to U.S. Customs and Border Protection. Raw Story reports that the FBI confirmed that a helicopter was on an operational mission near Laredo, Texas, along the Rio Grande.
FBI Special Agent Michelle Lee says shots fired struck the aircraft in mid-air.
“The rounds penetrated and damaged the aircraft, forcing the pilot to make an emergency landing,” Lee told Reuters. “The pilot sustained no injuries and no individuals on the ground were affected.”
The FBI and Texas Rangers are investigating the U.S. border helicopter shooting incident.
It’s unknown what the helicopter’s mission was at the time it was shot at. Lee said all factors in the shooting that include who’s responsible for firing weapons at the helicopter are part of that investigation. It’s also unclear if the gunfire came from the U.S. or Mexican side of the border. What’s known about the U.S. border helicopter shooting incident is that a mission was being conducted over an area notorious for narcotics and illegal border crossings activity.
The Laredo Times reports, via CNN, that Laredo Police spokesman, Joe Baeza, said border patrol called on them because “one of their helicopters had received gunfire.”
“Our helicopter actually landed in Laredo and there were no injuries,” the U.S. Customs and Border Protection said.
Five gunshots were fired off, but only two allegedly hit the helicopter with no injuries reported.
Breitbart Texas adds in its coverage that the U.S. border helicopter was “interdicting a narcotics load and working alongside agents from the U.S. Border Patrol, who operate under the umbrella of the CBP. The helicopter was operating in the Laredo Sector of Texas, immediately across the border from the Los Zetas cartel headquarters of Nuevo Laredo, Mexico,” adding, “the helicopter was in U.S. airspace and participating in the interdiction of a narcotics load coming from Mexico into the United States.”
The helicopter shooting reportedly occurred in an area “known as La Bota Ranch, a subdivision of Laredo, Texas. A source who operates under the umbrella of the CBP.”
As the report notes, last fall there was an increase in refugees coming from Central America who wanted in to the U.S. illegally. The Texas National Guard was deployed to the border last year to help get that under control.
[Photo Credit: David McNew/Getty Images]