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Video: Texas DPS helicopter flips smuggling raft on the Rio Grande

From left to right: A raft on the Rio Grande during the smuggling attempt, the Texas DPS helicopter descends and flips the raft, and a man swims away from the helicopter. (CBS 4 News Video)


The Texas Department of Public Safety recently started reviewing "department safety and security protocols" after an agency helicopter responded to a smuggling attempt near Rio Grande City by hovering just yards above the river -- flipping over a raft and disrupting a marijuana smuggling operation.

CBS 4 News reporter Analise Ortiz obtained a video showing the incident, prompting the Department of Public Safety review.

"The department is reviewing this incident as it relates to compliance with department safety and security protocols," according to a statement released by Department of Public Safety spokesman Sgt. Johnny Hernandez. "No injuries were reported. One suspected cartel member was arrested and approximately 96 pounds of marijuana was seized. The other suspects fled back into Mexico."

At about 6:30 p.m. on Sept. 5, the helicopter crew observed several people running on the riverbank, according to the statement. Two state troopers deployed from the helicopter to stop the smugglers.

"According to a video apparently taken from the Mexican side of the Rio Grande by an unknown person, the helicopter hovered over the raft that was approaching the suspected smugglers (who by then had entered the water), which caused the raft to overturn," according to the statement.

Investigators arrested 17-year-old Juan Antonio Rico-Valadez, who was jailed on a marijuana-related charge, according to the statement.

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