Congressional Leaders Arrive in Laredo over Downed Chopper

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AP Photo/Eric Gay

Two members of the U.S. House Oversight and Government Reform Committee arrived in Laredo on Sunday for a briefing about a Customs and Border Protection helicopter that made an emergency landing after taking fire from the Mexican side of the border. They will be meeting on Sunday and Monday with officials from the Air Branch and Marine Branch Sector Headquarters.

Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) and Rep. Blake Farenthold (R-TX) made the trip to south Texas to obtain additional information about the incident, according to a statement from Farenthold’s office obtained by Breitbart Texas.

“Nothing is more important than ensuring our Border Patrol personnel are safe and have all the resources they need to do the job we depend on them for day in and day out,” said Rep. Farenthold.  “I’m in Laredo today because I wanted a firsthand assessment of the current situation at the border and to hear from the people on the front lines of our national security what Washington can do to put them in the best position to do their job and stay safe.”

Friday evening, Breitbart Texas Managing Director Brandon Darby broke the news that the CBP helicopter had taken fire from the Mexican side of the border and was forced to make an emergency landing. “The helicopter was interdicting a narcotics load and working alongside agents from the U.S. Border Patrol, who operate under the umbrella of the CBP,” Darby wrote. “The helicopter was operating in the Laredo Sector of Texas, immediately across the border from the Los Zetas cartel headquarters of Nuevo Laredo, Mexico.”

A federal agent who spoke with Breitbart Texas on the condition of anonymity said, “U.S. Border Patrol agents were attempting to intercept a drug load. A law enforcement chopper was assisting Border Patrol agents. The chopper received gunfire from the Mexican side of the border. The chopper had to do an emergency landing due to the gunfire.”

Breitbart Texas later learned that “at least five shots were fired from Mexico and three hit the CBP chopper.” Darby also reported the pilot was not wearing his bullet proof vest, but had it placed beneath him on the floor which likely saved him from being shot. Agents explained that their vests are often placed below them in choppers because any rounds would come from below.

Late Friday night, the FBI released the following statement to Breitbart Texas:

On June 5, 2015, at approximately 5:00pm during an operational flight near the Rio Grande River in Laredo, Texas, a US Customs and Border Patrol (USCBP) helicopter was struck several times by ground fire.  The rounds penetrated and damaged the aircraft, forcing the pilot to make an emergency landing.   The pilot sustained no injuries and no individuals on the ground were affected.   USCBP, FBI, Texas Rangers, Homeland Security Investigations and Laredo Police Department responded to the scene.  The FBI has initiated an investigation and will continue processing the crime scene with the Texas Rangers.  Since this is an ongoing matter, no further details will be provided at this time.

Bob Price is a senior political news contributor for Breitbart Texas and a member of the original Breitbart Texas team. Follow him on Twitter @BobPriceBBTX.



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