TUCSON, Ariz. — Mexican law enforcement on Thursday crossed into Arizona
by helicopter and fired two shots at U.S. border agents, a border patrol union
A Mexican law enforcement chopper crossed about 100 yards north into the
Arizona desert, the U.S. Border Patrol said in a statement. The helicopter then
fired two shots on the Tohono O’Odham Indian Nation, which sits on the border.
Border patrol union leaders said the Mexicans fired at agents but that none of
them were hurt.
However, Mexican authorities have denied shooting at agents and say they were
under attack during a mission to find smugglers on the border.
Toms Zern, 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.
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
“… 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.
Sebastin Galvn, a spokesman for the Mexican Consulate in Tucson, said the
office was gathering information but did not have any details yet.
This incident was not the first one in which the Mexican military has veered
across the international boundary.
In January, U.S. border agents confronted two heavily armed Mexican soldiers
who crossed 50 yards inside Arizona, the Los Angeles Times reported. A standoff
ensued, but nobody was hurt.
In 2011, more than 30 uniformed Mexican soldiers in military vehicles crossed
the Rio Grande without authorization in an incident that was believed to be