Judicial Watch: DHS Records Detail Mexican Government Helicopter Crossing Border and Firing on Border Patrol
MAY 05, 2015
(Washington, DC) – Judicial Watch announced today that it obtained documents from the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) that confirm a June 26, 2014, attack by a Mexican government helicopter on U.S. Border Patrol agents. The Mexican helicopter crossed into U.S. airspace before firing on U.S. Border Patrol personnel. The Mexican government initially denied that the attack near Arizona’s San Miguel Gate occurred, but later admitted to the armed incursion.
The CBP documents were released in response to a July 9, 2014, Judicial Watch Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to CBP seeking:
Any and all records regarding, concerning or related to the June 26, 2014 incident near Sells, AZ on the Tohono O’Odham Indian Reservation during which one or more Mexican military helicopters reportedly entered U.S. airspace and fired shots in the vicinity of U.S. Border Patrol personnel.
The CBP records include a description of the record (memo, email, etc.) author, recipients, date of record, etc. The document title notes:
- [US Border Patrol] Agents from the Tucson Sector Foreign Operations Branch were parked approximately 100 yards north of the Border on the U.S. Side when they observed a Mexican LEA helicopter cross north into the U.S. for approximately 100 yards. The agents then heard and observed two rounds being shot from the helicopter which landed approximately 15 yards to the side of one of the unmarked Border Patrol Vehicles (FOB) they were driving. Also, there were two marked vehicles at the scene next to the unmarked as well.
- A total of six Mexican law enforcement helicopters flying near the Represito Ranch were observed by the four agents. Two agents were driving two marked Border Patrol vehicles and two additional agents were in a third, unmarked vehicle when one of the helicopters flew directly north and crossed into the US approximately 100 yards. The helicopter immediately turned back south into Mexico and landed at the Represito Ranch where Government of Mexico (GOM) officers exited the aircraft. Five GOM officers walked north and approached the International Border Fence where the incident had occurred, and subsequently made contact with the agents. The GOM officers apologized for the incident and stated that the incident had been reported to their main office in Mexico City, D.F.
The information obtained by Judicial Watch revealing that “GOM officers … stated that the incident had been reported to their main office in Mexico City” directly conflicts with the initial response from the Mexican government. According to the New York Daily News:
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.
Going back a decade, Judicial Watch has forced both the Bush and Obama administrations to release documents detailing intentional border incursions by Mexican military and other government personnel. DHS records show that Mexican military incursions occur quite often and go unpunished by the U.S. For instance, the DHS documents reveal 226 incursions by Mexican government personnel into the U.S. between 1996 and 2005. In 2007 alone, 25 such incursions occurred along the U.S.-Mexico border involving Mexican military and/or law enforcement. The problem has only gotten worse over the years, according to the records obtained in the course of JW’s ongoing investigations. In fact, earlier this year a serious incursion occurred in Arizona. Two heavily armed camouflaged soldiers from Mexico crossed 50 yards over the border into Arizona and held American Border Patrol agents at gunpoint in a tense confrontation.
According to information obtained by California Congressman Duncan Hunter from the Department of Homeland Security, there have been 300 documented incursions by Mexican military and law enforcement authorities onto U.S. soil since 2004. Hunter reported on June 17, 2014, that, according to the DHS:
- There have been a total of 300 documented incursions since January 1, 2004;
- Of the 300 documented incidents, there were 152 incidents involving armed subjects (totaling approximately 525 subjects);
- Of the 152 incidents involving armed subjects, verbal or physical contact was made with the armed subjects in 81 incidents (approximately 322 armed subjects in total). An encounter with one of these Mexican Government Law Enforcement or Military entities does not always equal a standoff or confrontation. It depends on a case-by-case basis where one would have to read the narrative completed on the Significant Incident Report for the specific incursion;
- Of the 81 armed encounters, a total of 131 subjects were detained. While the number of unauthorized incursions by Mexican authorities is relatively few, it is imperative for our officer safety to handle each situation assertively but with sensitivity and professionalism.
“It is clear that the Mexican government has little regard for the sovereignty of the United States,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “Our border is insecure and the Mexican government has contempt for our sovereignty. Its military and law enforcement personnel intentionally and without consequence cross our border and place U.S. law enforcement and other innocent Americans at risk. These new documents show how our Border Patrol agents were almost killed by a Mexican ‘law enforcement’ helicopter that crossed our border and fired on the Border Patrol’s clearly marked position. America is placed at risk by the Obama administration’s lawless open-borders policy that purposefully fails to protect American citizens and front-line law enforcement from a corrupt Mexican government, the drug cartels, the illegal alien crisis, ISIS and the Islamic terrorist threat.”