AVONDALE, Pa. — U.S. Customs and Border Protection on Thursday praised the members of its agency that assisted State Police and other law enforcement agents in the apprehension of Danelo Cavalcante -- including the K9 officer that actually subdued him.
Cavalcante, a convicted murderer who escaped from Chester County Prison and led police and other law enforcement agencies on a wild, two-week pursuit across the county, was captured Wednesday morning in a wooded area adjacent to rolling farmland and a nearby park.
Law enforcement's big break came Tuesday night and early Wednesday morning, as a plane fitted with a thermal imaging camera picked up Danelo Souza Cavalcante's heat signal, allowing teams on the ground to secure the area, surround him and move in with search dogs.
The lead agency for the manhunt, Pennsylvania State Police, disclosed that a tactical law enforcement team, including Border Patrol agents and a BORTAC K9 unit, surprised Cavalcante, who surrendered without firing his weapon.
K9 Officer Yoda, a 4-year-old male Belgian Malinois, encountered Cavalcante as he tried to escape pursuing law enforcement officers by crawling through the underbrush -- still armed with the rifle he stole from a Chester County homeowner earlier in the week.
Yoda bit the fugitive on the scalp before latching on to Cavalcante's thigh, at which point he submitted and was taken into custody by other officers.
Cavalcante suffered a scalp wound in the encounter.
"The men and women of U.S. Customs and Border Protection provide integral law enforcement support to local authorities, protecting and serving local communities around the country alongside our partners," a Border Patrol spokesperson said in a statement. (Wednesday's) actions are the latest demonstration of how our agents and officers bring incredible capability, additional interagency communications technology, and dedication to keep our communities safe.
"Most importantly, all those involved in the search were able to return home safe following the end to this manhunt."
The spokesperson said U.S. Border Patrol BORTAC agents from Buffalo, Detroite, Blaine, Wash., Swanton, Vt., and the USBP's Special Operations Group from El Paso, Tx. assisted State Police in the search for Cavalcante.
"Additionally, an Air and Marine Operations (AMO) ground tactical air controller (GTAC) assisted the Pennsylvania State Police," the spokesperson said. "The AMO GTAC coordinated air support between state and federal aircrews enhancing officer safety and situational awareness for the multi-agency search.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s Office of Information Technology field technicians from Delaware "contributed interagency communications capability that allowed all participating federal, state and local law enforcement to easily communicate with each other," the agency said.
"U.S. Border Patrol agents, from the moment they enter service, are highly skilled at tracking humans in all terrain and in all environments, and provide this unique expertise to our law enforcement partners during searches such as for escaped prisoners," the agency said. "U.S. Border Patrol BORTAC agents are equipped with various technology to assist in human detection, including night vision goggles, unmanned aircraft systems, off-road vehicles, and new technology to easily track the location of fellow unit members in the field."