A U.S Border agent has reportedly been killed after a shootout with drug smugglers that left two other officials injured.
The gunfire exchange unfolded at around 8am on Thursday after US Customs & Border Protection’s Air & Marine Operations agents encountered a suspected smuggling vessel off the coast of Puerto Rico.
As the Marines craft got closer to the vessel, the suspects onboard allegedly opened fire, hitting three agents, CBP said.
It’s unclear if the suspects were killed or arrested after the incident.
According to CBS, one of the agents reportedly died from his injuries.
The other two sustained various gunshot wounds, and their condition is unclear.
The shootout occurred just 14miles off the coast of Cabo Rojo.
CBP said the agents were airlifted to the Puerto Rico Trauma Center.
Video obtained by the WAPA TV shows agents being mounted on a medical helicopter.
US Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, who was testifying before a Senate committee on Thursday, said he had been briefed on the shooting.
“These are brave members of our air and marine operations within U.S. Customs and Border Protection, so the difficulty of this job cannot be compared to the difficulty that our frontline personnel face every day,” he said.
“And their bravery and selfless service should be recognized.”
Air & Marine Operations agents work the air and sea to patrol for human and drug smugglers.
Meanwhile, Border Agents work on land between ports of entry, inspecting people, vehicles, and goods entering the country at air, land, and seaport entries.