What began as a rescue became an arrest after the U.S. Border Patrol spotted three people on what seemed to be a stranded jet ski, stuck in the ice on the Niagara River on Wednesday.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) suspects it was all part of an attempt to smuggle two men into the United States, a news release said Thursday.
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Agents with U.S. Border Patrol who were assigned to Buffalo Station spotted the three men as the jet ski appeared to become stranded at the southern end of Beaver Island State Park, which is located in New York state, just over the U.S.-Canada border, the release said.
Two of the people on the jet ski managed to walk across the ice and arrive in the U.S. via Grand Island.
A third required rescue — the Grand Island Fire Department achieved this by taking ropes and an inflatable craft while CBP’s Air and Marine Operations provided support from the sky.
Paramedics evaluated all three at the scene; they were then taken into custody.
The three were taken to the Buffalo Border Patrol Station to be processed, and their cases are now being handled by the U.S. Attorney’s office.
The person driving the jet ski is a Canadian resident and a citizen of Brazil, CBP said. The other two spotted on the jet ski were citizens of Brazil and Spain, it added.
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“I commend our agents for apprehending this smuggling attempt and our local partner agencies which responded and provided support and assistance,” Patrol agent in charge Jeffrey Wilson said in a statement.
Buffalo isn’t exactly the busiest area for border apprehensions in the United States, even along the northern crossing.
There were 384 irregular crossings at Buffalo in the 2018 fiscal year,
That was far fewer than the nearly 2,000 seen at Detroit and less than the 736 at Swanton, Vt., which is just over the border from Quebec.