Texas law enforcement officers and Border Patrol agents engaged in an armed standoff with Mexican military personnel and drug smugglers just inside the United States along the Rio Grande yesterday afternoon.
According to a report in the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin of Ontario, Calif., both Texas law enforcement and the FBI stated nearly 30 American agents were part of the incident.
Chief Deputy Mike Doyal of the Hudspeth County Sheriff’s Department told the paper Mexican military Humvees were towing what appeared to be thousands of pounds of marijuana across the border into the United States.
Border Patrol agents called for backup after seeing that Mexican Army troops had several mounted machine guns on the ground more than 200 yards inside the U.S. border – near Neely’s Crossing, about 50 miles east of El Paso.
Doyal said Hudspeth County deputies and Texas Highway patrol officers arrived shortly afterward.
“It’s been so bred into everyone not to start an international incident with Mexico that it’s been going on for years,” Doyal told the Bulletin. “When you’re up against mounted machine guns, what can you do? Who wants to pull the trigger first? Certainly not us.”
Andrea Simmons, a spokeswoman with the FBI’s El Paso office, confirmed the incident, saying, “Bad guys in three vehicles ended up on the border. People with Humvees, who appeared to be with the Mexican army, were involved with the three vehicles in getting them back across.”
A Cadillac Escalade reportedly stolen from El Paso was captured, and U.S. officers found 1,477 pounds of marijuana inside.
The Mexican soldiers set fire to one of the Humvees stuck in the river, Doyal indicated.
Doyal emphasized Border Patrol agents and county deputies are not equipped for battle with military personnel.
“Our government has to do something,” he told the Bulletin. “It’s not the immigrants coming over for jobs we’re worried about. It’s the smugglers, Mexican military and the national threat to our borders that we’re worried about.”
Earlier this month, the Department of Homeland Security reported 216 incursions by Mexican soldiers during the past 10 years.
As WorldNetDaily reported, federal officials last week said Border Patrol and other federal agents working chronic drug-smuggling routes along the U.S. boundary with Mexico could be targets for retaliation by well-armed cartels from south of the Rio Grande, after a new enforcement push has dramatically curbed the importation of contraband.
“I do think we have to be prepared for the fact that as we press hard on these criminal organizations, some of them will want to fight back,” Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff told reporters.
Mexican officials last week denied their military was making incursions into the United States.