Homeland Security Monitors Canada Border
As part of a dramatic boost in surveillance of the Canadian border, federal officials Friday dedicated the first of five planned bases for regular flights to look for drug runners and others crossing illegally by air or land. The Bellingham Air Marine Branch is to have a staff of nearly 70, 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. The five new bases, which will dot the border from Washington state to upstate New York, are a response to the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks as well as smuggling of illegal aliens and drugs, including British Columbia’s potent strains of marijuana. Similar bases have policed the Mexican border for three decades.