Pilot George Reyes Saenz

Pilot George Reyes Saenz

United States Department of the Treasury - United States Customs Service, U.S. Government

End of Watch Thursday, November 2, 1989

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George Reyes Saenz

Pilot George Saenz was killed in a helicopter accident 55 miles southeast of Marathon, Florida, during a joint narcotics operation involving several federal agencies from the United States and the Bahamas.

The Black Hawk helicopter was illuminating one of several boats that were suspected of being involved in a narcotics drop when it experienced a mechanical failure and crashed into the Atlantic Ocean. Five of the six crew members were able to exit the aircraft and were rescued. Pilot Saenz's body was never located.

Six suspects were arrested and pled guilty to involuntary manslaughter in connection with Pilot Saenz's death.

Pilot Saenz was a military veteran who served with the U.S. Navy from October 1973-October 1977 and also in the U.S. Army Reserve before joining the Metro-Dade Police Department and later the U.S. Customs Service. He is survived by his wife.


  • Age 34
  • Tour 2 years
  • Badge Not available
  • Military Veteran

Incident Details

  • Cause Aircraft accident
  • Location Florida

narcotics, smuggling

Most Recent Reflection

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I was a friend and colleague of George's back in the middle to late 80's while assigned as a special agent on a TDY to the Air Smuggling Group at Homestead AFB. George was one of the first to welcome me to the air branch and quickly became a friend.

I had the satisfaction of arresting the individuals who were the subject of the pursuit the night George so tragically perished. It occurred during an SRT entry and we only found out minutes before taking the door that the subjects were the same traffickers being sought the night of the crash.

I can remember telling them "this was for George" following the arrests.

George is often in my thoughts and will never be forgotten.

Senior Special Agent, U.S. Customs Service (ret.)

January 26, 2020

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