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Mexican Soldiers Question, Disarm Two U.S. Army Troops in Apparent Confusion About Border Location Incident Documents Reveal

Mexican Soldiers Question, Disarm Two U.S. Army Troops in Apparent Confusion About Border Location Incident Documents Reveal

Postby smix » Sat Apr 20, 2019 1:56 am

Mexican Soldiers Question, Disarm Two U.S. Army Troops in Apparent Confusion About Border Location, Incident Documents Reveal
Newsweek

URL: https://www.newsweek.com/mexican-soldie ... ut-1401939
Category: Politics
Published: April 19, 2019

Description: Two U.S. Army soldiers sat in an unmarked Chevrolet Tahoe owned by U.S. Customs and Border Protection on the west side of an El Paso County, Texas, Colonia known as Las Pampas. It was April 13, and the Army sergeant and private had set up a hasty observation post north of the Rio Grande River, but south of the border fence in U.S. territory. The soldiers were members of B Battery, 1st Battalion, 37th Field Artillery Regiment, out of Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Washington. The unit, part of the southwest border mission President Donald Trump first ordered in October 2018, recently had their deployment extended to September. At roughly 2:00 p.m. local time, the soldiers observed five to six individuals dressed in green pixelated military camouflage uniforms and carrying weapons, which appeared to be FX-05 Xiuhcoatl, an assault rifle designed and built for the Mexican armed forces. The armed men swiftly approached the U.S. service members, crossing over from the Mexican side of the Rio Grande River into U.S. territory, ordering the soldiers out of their vehicle at gunpoint. What transpired on that afternoon of April 13 near the small town of Clint, Texas, underscores the confusion between the physical location of the border fence and where the geographical U.S.-Mexico border begins and ends. In Texas, the border fence does not align perfectly with the topography of the precise location of the U.S.-Mexico border—this creates a buffer zone between the actual, often invisible, border and the fence. Additionally, while parts of the Texas border with Mexico are fenced, much of it is not because of a variety of issues, including ongoing litigation, private-property rights, treaty provisions, and floodplains.Newsweek obtained a copy of the serious incident report generated 30 minutes after Mexican military members briefly detained and held at gunpoint U.S. military service members after believing the U.S. Army soldiers were in Mexican territory when in fact, the Mexican military had unknowingly crossed into U.S. territory. The report was reviewed by U.S. Army Lieutenant Colonel Timothy D. Gatlin, the commander of 1st Battalion, 37th Field Artillery Regiment and briefed to U.S. Army Lieutenant General Jeffrey Buchanan, the commanding general of U.S. Army North. The U.S. Army soldiers said the Mexican soldiers moved tactically fast on the unmarked CBP vehicle. The Army soldiers did not have enough reaction time to activate a 911 emergency on their Nano Shout, a cell-phone size two-way satellite GPS tracking device, which also doubles as an emergency beacon when soldiers are in need of additional U.S. military units. Speaking in Spanish, the Mexican soldiers instructed the sergeant and the private to move to the front of their vehicle where they were “gently searched," according to the incident report. The sergeant’s service pistol, the Beretta M9, was removed from his hip by the individuals and thrown inside the unmarked U.S. government vehicle. The U.S. service members reported they did not see “any identifiable seals or symbols on the individual’s vehicle,” and “could not identify any patches or name tapes on the uniform except for the Mexican flags.” The Deputy Director of public affairs for NORAD and U.S. Northern Command John Cornelio said in a statement to Newsweek on Friday a joint inquiry by U.S. Customs and Border Protection and the Defense Department revealed the gunmen to be Mexican military members, who believed the U.S. Army soldiers were south of the Mexican border. “After a brief discussion between the soldiers from the two nations, the Mexican military members departed the area. The U.S. soldiers immediately contacted CBP, who responded quickly. Throughout the incident, the U.S. soldiers followed all established procedures and protocols,” the statement said. The U.S. service members reported hearing someone from the south side yell “Vamonos” in Spanish. The Mexican military members went back to their vehicle, described as a “dark blue Ford pickup truck with a tactical rack in the back.” The Ford pickup departed the area, heading westbound on the Mexican levee. The U.S. service members did not see any identifiable seals or symbols on the dark blue pickup truck. After the encounter, the service members notified CBP by service radio. CBP agents responded to their location roughly 10-12 minutes after the incident, according to the report. Once on site, the CBP agents back-tracked the footprints of the Mexican military members and determined the individuals entered U.S. territory about 50 feet north of the Rio Grande River, said the Army’s serious incident report. Members of 1st Battalion, 37th Field Artillery Regiment responded to the location to check on the well-being of their soldiers. Newsweek contacted U.S. Customs and Border Protection about the April 13 incident, but no reply was returned before publication.
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