Jon E. Dougherty is a Missouri-based political science major, author, writer and columnist. Follow him on Twitter.
An American law enforcement officer and news crew in Texas have witnessed another armed incursion into the United States by men dressed in Mexican army attire, the second such incident in just two weeks.
As before, several men dressed in Mexican military garb appeared to violate the international boundary, in Hudspeth County, Texas, some 50 miles east of El Paso, local affiliate KFOX-TV reported today. There, the U.S.-Mexico border is separated only by a shallow stretch of Rio Grande River.
The deputy and news crew were on the scene Tuesday night to film a segment about last week’s incursion, when the law officer noticed more “soldiers” emerge from a clearing on the U.S. side of the border.
As the deputy and news crew watched, three soldiers emerged into the clearing before one hurried back into the concealment of brush, KFOX reported. But the deputy pointed out other, larger groups of soldiers engaged in a flanking action against him and the news crew, most probably, the deputy believes, in an attempt to figure out what they were doing.
“They are doing the classic thing, flanking around each side of us and actually coming up into the U.S. and trying to figure out what we are doing; they are looking at us very heavily,” said the deputy, who was not identified in the report.
At that point KFOX reporter Ben Swann asked, “So I guess it’s time to go?” and the deputy answered, “Yeah, it would definitely be time to get out of here.”
The deputy chose to vacate the area because he was vastly outnumbered and outgunned, the report said.
Mexican officials have said their military is forbidden from traveling within three miles of the border, though U.S. border residents have repeatedly spotted mobile patrols of Mexican military units traversing roads that run directly parallel to the international boundary. Because of the stated policy, however, Mexico says the armed men crossing into the U.S. are paramilitary forces loyal to drug-smuggling cartels.
In last week’s incident, 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. The Inland Valley Daily Bulletin of Ontario, Calif., reported that 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.
The deputy involved in this week’s incident said he identified what appeared to be a military vehicle partially concealed in brush near the Mexican “soldiers.”
“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 earlier 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.”
Chris Simcox, president of the Minuteman Civil Defense Corps, a border watch group that assists authorities in securing the border, said with the latest incident “the government of Mexico once again has demonstrated their contempt for the United States.”
“It is disgraceful that American citizens, including law enforcement, live under the threat of a foreign army that enters our country at will,” he added. “It took the murder of 3,000 Americans on American soil for the government to take international terrorism seriously. With the Mexican army, drug smugglers, human traffickers and terrorists able to cross our borders with impunity, it seems that only the mass murder of Americans living on our border will cause the government to take decisive action to secure our borders.”
In comments to KFOX, the deputy involved in this week’s incident said, “If it’s going to take a bunch of us getting killed down here on the river to show everybody that this is a problem, then its going to happen, one of these days it will happen.”