More Eyes In The Sky Above U.S.-Canada Border

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More aircraft will be patrolling the border between the Northeastern U.S. and Canada, now that a new Air and Marine Operations (AMO) Center has opened in Plattsburgh, N.Y., on the site of a former Air Force base. (All of North America can now sleep a little easier.) The center is the second of five new branches planned for the northern border. The first, located in Bellingham, Wash., opened in August. The other three are tentatively planned for Michigan, North Dakota and Montana. Charles Stallworth, director of Air and Marine operations, told the Associated Press the five bases will enable agents to respond anywhere along the 4,000-mile border within an hour. Two prop planes, two helicopters and 40 people will be based at the new facility, the Associated Press said. High-speed boats from the base will patrol Lake Champlain. Agents are on the watch for illegal aliens and drug smugglers as well as terrorist activity. The AMO also operates a training branch in Oklahoma City and an operations center in California. It has over 1,000 employees and a fleet of 134 aircraft and 72 vessels.