The Investigators

Jul 1, 2014 8:09 PM by Lupita Murillo and Michel Marizco

N4T Investigators: FBI investigating Mexican helicopter attack on Border Patrol agents

The News 4 Tucson Investigators have learned that the FBI is now investigating an attack by Mexican law enforcement on the U.S. Border Patrol in Arizona.

The Homeland Security Department requested the FBI's involvement in the case, said FBI Phoenix field office spokesman Perryn Collier.

The incident took place last week near the San Miguel Gate, southwest of Tucson. Agents said they came under fire by a Mexican law enforcement helicopter that crossed into Arizona. The Mexican federal Attorney General's Office has denied the claim.

"They crossed into the United States. There were some shots fired at Border Patrol vehicles," said Border Patrol local union president Art del Cueto.
"The line of demarcation is clearly marked. You could tell you are in to the United States. And the Border Patrol vehicles are clearly marked. It's the vehicle that everyone knows really well. It's the white vehicles with the stripe on the side to include the light fixture on the top for emergency lights and markings on top of the roof that clearly show it's a Border Patrol vehicle."

Mexico has said its law enforcement were across the border working on an anti-drug operation with the assistance of U.S. Customs and Border Protection from Houston. The government took to Twitter on the Friday following the attack to state that during the operation, "no helicopters crossed the boundary into the United States."

The Tweet did not, however, specify whether Mexican law enforcement fired across the border.

The incident comes after a January incursion by Mexican troops in Sasabe into Arizona. The night of January 27, Mexican soldiers crossed into Arizona and drew their weapons on Border Patrol agents. It's one of at least 300 incursions over the past 18 years identified in a Freedom of Information Act report on incursions obtained by the News 4 Tucson Investigators.

Soldiers from that same Army base also tried to kill three American citizens who were across the border in Sasabe, Sonora, last March. One of the victims was shot twice. Soldiers said the young men had tried to run a checkpoint. However, an investigation by KVOA News 4 showed there was no checkpoint in the area. That shooting remains under investigation by the Mexican government.


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