ICE, federales involved in Lukeville cross-border arrest operation
Agents with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement were involved in a cross-border operation near Lukeville, in southwestern Arizona, on Friday. The effort, described by officials as "an arrest operation" targeting organized crime in Sonoyta, Sonora, includes Blackhawk helicopters flown by Mexican federal police.
An official with U.S. Customs and Border Protection confirmed the operation Friday morning, but said that ICE was leading the cross-border effort, which included Blackhawk helicopters flown by Mexican federal police.
The operation included Homeland Security Investigations special agents and other federal law enforcement officials working with Mexican authorities on "an arrest operation ... (that) targets criminal elements and organizations operating in and around Sonoyta," ICE spokeswoman Gillian Christensen said Friday evening.
Officials declined to detail the target of the arrest effort.
Observers said helicopters flew back and forth across the U.S.-Mexico border for hours Friday, well into the afternoon.
KVOA reporter Michel Marizco said that at 7 a.m. Mexican federal police helicopters launched from Arizona into the border city of Sonoyta, Sonora, just across the line from Lukeville. Choppers have made several trips back and forth across the border throughout the day.
The Lukeville crossing, about 110 miles southwest of Tucson, is astride the road to Puerto Peñasco, also known as Rocky Point.
About 50 agents from CBP, ICE and the Arizona Department of Public Safety were gathered at a staging area in Lukeville, Marizco said.
Despite the law enforcement activity, the border crossing remained open Friday, although security was tight.
Check back for updates.