The Department of Homeland Security is using 16 military-style, mine-resistant ambush protected vehicles for use during “high-risk warrants,” according to an official spokesman.The MRAP, as it’s known in the U.S. military, was fielded in 2007 to counter the threat of devastating roadside bombs in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The MRAPs were transferred to DHS from the Department of defence, free of charge. But despite recent reports, they have actually been in service since at least 2008.
“The MRAPs we have are not new,” Ross Feinstein, a spokesman for DHS, told Business Insider. “We have been using them for years.”
The vehicles are modified for use with the DHS Special Response Team — specially trained, fully armoured agents dispatched during the most severe and high risk situations, according to WOAI.
“[The vehicle] is used in the execution of high-risk warrants — including drug trafficking, smuggling, and contraband,” Feinstein told Business Insider. “We have 16 MRAPs nationwide.”
In a video posted to YouTube, a DHS supervisor gives a tour of the vehicle in El Paso, Texas — displaying added skids for agents to ride along the sides, seating for 10-11, firing ports, and enhanced protection from bullets.
“[The glass] has multiple layers in there, and it will stop up to a .50 calibre round,” Robert Whittaker, tactical supervisor for El Paso SRT, says in the video. ” … so it provides very good protection for us.”
The vehicle is apparently used to protect federal agents from gunfights involving heavily armed criminals.
On May 3, 2012, three ICE agents were shot and injured while serving “high-risk” warrants during an early morning sweep of San Francisco Bay area gang members, according to a report from Yahoo! News.
Update: An earlier version of this post included a figure of over 2,700 vehicles, as cited from the original RT link. This figure likely comes from a press release from Navistar defence, mentioning delivery of 2,717 to the U.S. Marine Corps. A DHS Spokesman confirmed with Business Insider that they have only 16 nationwide.
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