U.S. Customs and Border Protection Air and Marine Operations inaugurated Wednesday its new $10 million aircraft hangar and support facilities at the Rafael Hernández International Airport in Aguadilla.
The new 30,000 square-foot facility is part of the Caribbean Air and Marine Branch, or CAMB, the only federal law enforcement organization in the Caribbean Basin with integrated air and marine interdiction capabilities.
“CBP responds to an evolving array of threats and challenges in the border environment. It is the vigilance and dedication of our frontline workforce that ensures our ability to execute our critical border security responsibilities,” said Commissioner R. Gil Kerlikowske.
“Our success in reducing illicit activity in the Caribbean is possible through collaborative operations and partnerships with other Federal, state and local law enforcement agencies,” he said. “This new facility continues provides additional support to our ongoing mission.”
CAMB is charged with detection and interdiction of airborne and maritime smuggling throughout the archipelago of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, as well as the West Indies, using organic radar facilities to detect and intercept air smuggling attempts, and airborne radar tracking aircraft to detect maritime smugglers.
“These new facilities serve to enhance [our] operational capacity to serve the areas of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, which are at the forefront of the transnational threat consisting primarily of illegal alien and narcotics smuggling via marine vessels,” said Randolph D. “Tex” Alles, executive assistant commissioner for CBP Air and Marine Operations.
The new building hangar has offices for the Air Interdiction Agents, a training room and other features.