In what’s being dubbed a mistake, armed Mexican troops reportedly disarmed two American soldiers conducting a border security operation on the American side of the Southwest U.S.-Mexico border over the weekend.
"On April 13, 2019, at approximately 2 p.m. CDT, five to six Mexican military personnel questioned two U.S. Army soldiers who were conducting border support operations in an unmarked (Customs and Border Protection) vehicle near the southwest border in the vicinity of Clint, Texas," US Northern Command told CNN in a statement.
"The US soldiers were appropriately in US territory" during the encounter, the statement added.
According to the report, the Mexican authorities disarmed one of the two U.S. soldiers, tossing his weapons in the back of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection vehicle, before questioning them at gunpoint. U.S. Northern Command officials added the soldiers allowed their questioners to take their weapons “in an attempt to de-escalate a potential volatile situation,” saying they “followed all established procedures and protocols.”
Officials claimed the Mexican troops mistakenly thought the Americans were on the wrong side of the U.S. border, as the encounter occurred in a brushy, unmarked area south of the border fence but north of the Rio Grande.
The situation eventually diffused after one of the American soldiers, who spoke some Spanish, was able to explain to the Mexicans that they were on the U.S. side of the border.
While this is the first recent report of a near-conflict between U.S. military forces and Mexican troops at the border, it comes after years of criticism over Mexico's handling (or lack thereof) of mass illegal immigration from their country into the United States. There are currently about 3,000 U.S. troops and another 2,000 National Guard supporting CBP efforts along the Southwest U.S. border.