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In a disturbing incident that has received little national attention, the US Border Patrol found itself in retreat on US soil after interdicting a dump truck full of marijuana on US Interstate 10 last week. The truck made a run for the border but got stuck on a riverbed. While the Border Patrol started to unload the estimated three tons of weed, a larger armed group apparently comprised at least in part by the Mexican military forced the Border Patrol away from the vehicle and bulldozed it back into Mexico:
The incident began when Border Patrol agents tried to stop the dump truck on Interstate 10, sheriff's officials said. The truck fled to Mexico in the Neely's Crossing area.
The truck got stuck in the riverbed, and the driver took off running. Agents "started to retrieve the bundles (of marijuana) when the armed subjects appeared," said Agent Ramiro Cordero, a Border Patrol spokesman.
The Border Patrol called Hudspeth County sheriff's deputies and Texas state troopers for backup, both agencies confirmed.
Doyal said the truck driver returned with the armed men, including men who arrived in official-looking vehicles with overhead lights and what appeared to be Mexican soldiers in uniform and with military-style rifles.
The Mexican army is used in anti-narcotics operations. Army officials could not be reached for comment.
The standoff ended when the "soldiers" used a bulldozer to pull the dump truck into Mexico, sheriff's officials said.
Several possibilities exist for explaining this incident, none of which sounds good for the border situation. The most likely explanation is that the Mexicans wore fake military uniforms and the armed band worked for drug smugglers. Second, the Mexican army personnel work for the drug smugglers, and third, the operation was approved by Mexican army commanders as a competing interdiction effort. I can think of no other explanation, especially since the band had a bulldozer handy -- which tends to support the first two hypotheses, as American officials believe smugglers use the dozers to cut trails across the rivers for drug runners.
If the Mexican army sent a patrol into the US to steal the truck from our law-enforcement agencies, that qualifies as an invasion and the US government has to get an explanation right now from Vicente Fox as to their intentions. I doubt that this is the case, but the other options don't sound any better. If the smugglers have Mexican army uniforms and can successfully pose as such, it puts American forces at risk of capture or death at the hands of the smugglers if our men work in coordination with them on the border. If the smugglers have real Mexican soldiers working for them, then we have the same problems, plus any ability to coordinate with their army no longer exists.
But by far the biggest problem shown in this incident is that no matter who the Mexicans were, our Border Patrol presents no match for the drug smugglers and bandits along the southern border of the US. To have a dump truck stolen while they stood by and watched, afraid to fire a shot in defense of the border, amply demonstrates the futility of our entire approach to security along the southwestern edge of the US. This incident is nothing less than a rank humiliation and exposes the underfunded and overstretched Border Patrol as completely unable to fulfill its mission with current resources and leadership.
The fact that this happened a week ago and has remained buried in the local press is equally disturbing. How many such incidents have already occurred? How many more have to happen before drug smugglers and worse start pushing through with heavy arms, knowing that nothing we have will stop them? (Hat tip: CQ reader Carolyn C, with a link to WND's report.)Sphere It View blog reactions
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