U.S. to step up air surveillance at Canadian border

BELLINGHAM, Wash. (Aug. 31, 2004) — Truckers shouldn’t be too surprised to look up and see U.S. attack-style helicopters hovering up above Canada-U.S. border points.

U.S. officials announced that, as part of a dramatic boost in surveillance for drug runners and terrorist activity, five new Air Marine Branch bases will dot the Canada-U.S. border from Washington to New York State.

The first to open — in Bellingham, Wash. — have a staff of nearly 70 people, two helicopters, an airplane, and a high-speed boat by year’s end. Similar bases have policed the Mexican border for three decades, but the new facility is the first on the Canadian border.

A second station in Plattsburgh, N.Y., is scheduled by the end of the year, a U.S. Customs and Border Protection official told AP. It will be followed by bases near Detroit; Grand Forks, N.D.; and Great Falls, Mont.

— from Associated Press

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