Two U.S. Army soldiers were disarmed, detained and questioned by several Mexican troops who crossed into the U.S. last week, the U.S. military has confirmed.
“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,” U.S. Northern Command told CNN in a statement.
“An inquiry by (Customs and Border Patrol) and (the Department of Defense) revealed that the Mexican military members believed that the US Army soldiers were south of the border,” the statement added.
BREAKING: A group of armed Mexican soldiers detained and disarmed a pair of U.S. soldiers on the U.S. side of the Texas border with Mexico.
— Breaking News (@of_BreakingNews) April 20, 2019
The U.S. Army soldiers were reportedly sitting in an unmarked Customs and Border Protection-owned Chevrolet Tahoe just south of the border fence but north of the actual border when they were confronted.
“Though they were south of the border fence, US soldiers remained in US territory, north of the actual border,” the statement explained. In some areas of Texas, the border fence does not match the exact location of the border line.
The U.S. Army soldiers didn’t have enough time to request emergency assistance before they were quickly approached by the Mexican troops wielding FX-05 Xiuhcoatl military rifles, Newsweek reported.
They were instructed to stand at the front of the vehicle where they were searched and disarmed. One of the Mexican soldiers removed the Army sergeant’s Beretta M9 service pistol and placed it inside the vehicle.
Officials said the sergeant permitted the Mexican soldier to disarm them “in an attempt to de-escalate a potential volatile situation.”
“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,” Deputy Director of public affairs for NORAD and U.S. Northern Command John Cornelio told Newsweek.
The soldiers were part of B Battery, 1st Battalion, 37th Field Artillery Regiment from Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Washington, and deployed as part of the southern border support mission ordered by President Trump in Oct. 2018.
The Mexican troops sped away in a Ford pickup truck with no “identifiable seals or symbols.”
The incident occurred less than two weeks after President Trump said he is considering expanding the border support mission in response to the growing crisis, as Military Times reported.
“I’m going to have to call up more military,” he said, though not specifying how many troops could be deployed.
Approximately 5,000 U.S. service members are deployed to the southern border – 3,000 of which are active duty troops and some 2,000 National Guardsmen.