Late last week, Mexico appears to have taken the US “border-crossing” issue to a whole new level even if it was really a case of a drug bust gone horribly wrong, when as AP reported, on Thursday Mexican law enforcement crossed into Arizona by helicopter and fired two shots at U.S. border agents, a border patrol union leader says.
According to the Customs and Border Protection: “At approximately 5:45 a.m. Thursday morning, a Mexican law-enforcement helicopter crossed approximately 100 yards north into Arizona nearly 8 miles southwest of the Village of San Miguel on the Tohono O’odham Indian Nation while on a law-enforcement operation near the border. Two shots were fired from the helicopter, but no injuries or damage to U.S. property were reported. The incident is currently under investigation.“
Andy Adame, a spokesperson for US Border Patrol, said in a statement issued soon afterward that the incident had indeed occurred and that the two government agents targeted were not injured.
Art del Cueto, president of the local border patrol union, said four agents were in a marked patrol vehicle when they were shot at.
“They could say they didn’t fire at the agents intentionally. But for them to say that they were no shots fired within the United States, toward the United States Border Patrol, is a lie. They got in contact with our managers and apologized for the incident,” del Cueto said.
The Mexican helicopter was 15 yards from the border agents when they were came under fire, Del Cueto said. He’s also concerned that Tucson sector officials didn’t notify the next shift of border agents that there had been a shooting, he said.
“… I think our managers within the area should have definitely informed the oncoming shift this had happened. We’re always on high alert, but I think it would raise a fear level for our agents,” del Cueto said.
RT adds that the personnel on board the Mexican military chopper were in the midst of a drug interdiction operation at the time of the event.
Also this week, del Cuerto told KVOA that law enforcement officials on the border are in the midst of dealing with “probably the most notorious, dangerous, drug organizations to ever walk this earth.”
“They’re dealing with the criminal element; they’re dealing with somebody who is accustomed to violence,” Adame told KVOA. “Those are the people the parents are putting their children’s lives into the hands of.”
Mexico was quick to deny the US version and said its authorities did not shoot at US agents but instead were under attack during a mission to find smugglers on the border. Tomás Zerón, the director of the Mexican attorney general’s office investigative office, said that Mexican military and federal police who were conducting an operation on a ranch in Altar, Sonora, were shot at by criminals. Mexican authorities never fired any weapons and in fact never crossed into the U.S. side of the border, he said.
From USA Today:
Tomas Zeron de Lucio, senior director of the Criminal Investigation Agency of the Mexican Attorney General’s Office, said in a statement that the helicopter was taking part in a raid on a ranch near the border being used by a criminal organization to smuggle drugs and illegal immigrants across the border into the United States.
“I don’t believe we crossed the border, because we had our (navigation devices), but it was exactly 100 meters from the border,” he said, according to a transcript of a conference he held with reporters in Mexico City. He also said the operation was coordinated beforehand with the CBP.
He said Mexican authorities believe the ranch was being used to smuggle 400 migrants per day into the U.S during the summer season.
Mexican authorities apprehended 27 migrants from Mexico and 13 from Central America. The manager of the ranch was also arrested, he said.
“With the seizure of the La Sierrita ranch, the flow of a large quantity of migrants and drugs crossing from Mexico to the United States has been stopped,” Zeron de Lucio said. “These actions by the Mexican government reaffirm our commitment to combating organized crime.”
Earlier Friday, the CBP issued a statement saying that two shots had been fired at its agents.
The CBP report said the Mexican agents were conducting a mission on the southern side of the border Thursday morning when they crossed 100 yards into Arizona on the Tohono O’odham Reservation.
There have been more than 300 border incursions by Mexican military and law-enforcement authorities in the past decade, according to figures released recently by Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-Calif. Hunter said in a news release last week that the figures were provided by the Department of Homeland Security. The DHS did not respond to a request for confirmation. Hunter’s data indicated that 152 of the incidents involved armed subjects. Of those, 81 incidents involved physical or verbal contact.
In January, two Mexican soldiers crossed into the U.S. near Sasabe and drew weapons on Border Patrol agents. The soldiers claimed they were in pursuit of three suspects, according to an incident report from the CBP. They lowered their weapons after speaking with U.S. agents and returned to Mexico about 45 minutes after the incident began. The CBP declined to comment beyond its statement.
Well, if Obama’s attempts to spark a regional war in Syria, Iraq, Iran, Ukraine and so one fail, there is always Mexico.