A ride with men risking their lives to keep terrorists out of Michigan

Everyday we come out here, we have to win, says U.S. Customs and Border Patrol Supervisory Marine Intradiction Agent William Carroll.

He TMs on the front line, trying to keep criminals and terrorists out of our country.

The terrorists, all they have to win is once. If they get across and commit their terrorist acts, they won.

Everyday he and the men he works with risk their lives fighting both those who may harm our country and the elements.

You TMre competing with wind, waves, darkness, currents, he said as he took an NBC25 crew out for a patrol on Lake Huron. His goal, sharing with the public the security challenges at the nation's northern border so people become more vigilant.

The waves at the time are measuring 6 to 12 feet. Even in fair weather securing this invisible underwater border is a formidable undertaking against well-funded criminal networks.

Agents tell NBC25 human smugglers charge $20,000 to $40,000 a person at the northern border. This is more than ten times the going rate at the Mexican border. These high priced targets are known to be well protected.

There TMs no telling how many people get through. Last year the Detroit Border Patrol Sector, which covers the border from Sandusky, Ohio to Michigan TMs upper peninsula caught more than 900 illegal immigrants. Some of them were found out to be persons of interest on terrorism watch lists.

The U.S. border with Canada, excluding Alaska, is almost 4,000 miles long. More than 700 miles of it is along Michigan. Of the entire border a 2009 Homeland Security report said just over 100 miles were under effective control. The majority of the border is porous and vulnerable.

Marine Interdiction agents do not have the manpower to effectively protect the entire border. They rely on technology, tips from the public, and varying their habits in the hopes of catching criminals off guard.

There is a lot more water than there is us right now, says Caroll. We hope that changes in the future.