Plattsburgh CBP aircrews rescue suspected human trafficking victims


U.S. Customs and Border Protection

RUTLAND, V.T. (WWTI) — Three women were rescued last week who were believed to be victims of human trafficking in Vermont.

Aircrews piloting and AS350 A-Star from U.S. Customs and Border Protection Air and Marine Operations, assigned out of Plattsburgh, New York, responded to a Homeland Security Investigations on October 22.

According to CBP Public Affairs, this led to the arrest of one individual and Federal agents rescued three women who were suspected victims of human trafficking at one of the surveyed residences.

This was following a request for aerial surveillance during interagency search warrants of multiple residences suspected of being linked to drug and human trafficking activity.

Prior to the search warrant, CBP confirmed that information developed by law enforcement officers believed that women were being “confined against their will” at one of the residences. During the execution of the search warrant, Vermont State Police and HSI special agents discovered evidence of potential human trafficking. This included a padlocked apartment door and chain-link storage areas.

CBP stated that the three women were discovered behind the padlocked door. They were then evaluated by Emergency Medical Services personnel and medically cleared.

“The collaboration between CBP, HSI, and our law enforcement partners provided for a successful rescue of women being held against their will,” Manassas Air Branch Acting Director Jeremiah Rogers said in a press release. “Our aircrews continuously partner with our federal and local law enforcement partners to provide an integral asset from the air.”

During the HSI-led operation the AMO aircrew was assisted by members of HSI Burlington, The Center for Countering Human Trafficking, Vermont State Police Tactical Services Unit, HSI Boston Field Office Special Response Team, Bureau of Criminal Investigations, Narcotics Investigation Unit, and the uniformed troopers from the Field Force Division, Rutland City Police Department, and Rutland County Sheriff’s Office.

This case remains under investigation by Federal officials.

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