MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, Fla. – The remains of a U.S. Customs and Border Protection agent killed in Puerto Rico arrived in South Florida Wednesday afternoon to a water cannon salute and full honors on the tarmac at Miami International Airport.
The FBI identified the agent as Michel Maceda, a seven year veteran of the agency’s Air and Marine Operations (AMO) unit. Local 10 has learned Maceda has family in South Florida.
“The rigors of this job, the dangers of this job, are evidenced every day,” said John Priddy, Southeast Region AMO Director.
Authorities said Maceda was killed and two other agents were injured in a shootout last week about 14 miles off the coast of Cabo Rojo, a known drug-running corridor.
The agents reportedly approached a suspected drug smuggling vessel, identified themselves as law enforcement, and gunfire erupted.
According to the FBI, more than 1,300 kilograms of cocaine were discovered on the suspect vessel and another boat believed to be connected. Three men were arrested and a fourth suspect was killed.
“Currently with the migration situation, we see people that are desperate, which creates certain hazards,” Priddy said. “And certainly when it comes to smuggling narcotics and weapons, we see acts of violence our agents are exposed to on a daily basis.”