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BCSO: Distress call from U.S. Border Patrol was unfounded

A distress call Sunday from a U.S. Border Patrol officer has been determined to be unfounded, according to a news release issued Wednesday evening by the Beltrami County Sheriff's office, one of many agencies that responded to the call.

At 8:26 p.m. Sunday, the Beltrami County Sheriff's Office received two urgent calls, one from the Koochiching County Sheriff's Office and one from the U.S. Border Patrol, reporting that a Border Patrol officer was down, had sounded a distress call and was in need of assistance near Funkley, according to the news release. The officer was believed to be somewhere near the Itasca County/Beltrami County line.

The U.S. Border Patrol Dispatch Center had received information from the officer that he had been stopped by two people in a Dodge Durango who had removed him from his vehicle at gunpoint and forced him into the ditch. The officer also said he had been injured by the suspects, who had fled the scene, according to the report.

Immediate assistance was rendered from many agencies. Beltrami County deputies and Minnesota State Patrol troopers located the officer in his squad car on Highway 71 about 12 miles north of Bemidji near Turtle River. Officers determined that medical attention was not needed. Investigation by both the U.S. Border Patrol and the FBI then ensued.

On Wednesday evening, Beltrami County Sheriff Phil Hodapp reported that, according to the FBI, a thorough investigation of the event revealed that the entire incident was unfounded.

Agencies responding included the Beltrami County Sheriff's Office, Koochiching County Sheriff's Office, Hubbard County Sheriff's Office, Bemidji Police Department, Blackduck Police Department, Clearwater County Sheriff's Office, Red Lake Police Department, Leech Lake Police Department, Lake of the Woods Sheriff's Office, Itasca County Sheriff's Office, FBI, U.S. Border Patrol, Minnesota State Patrol and Blackduck Ambulance.