McALLEN, TEXAS — Armed Mexican military troops and Mexican law enforcement officials have crossed the United States border more than 300 times since 2004, according to a written response from the Department of Homeland Security to a California congressman. The offenders have reportedly never been prosecuted for crossing illegally with loaded weapons.
House Armed Services Committee member Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.) said that DHS confirmed on Tuesday that 152 of these incidents involved a total of 525 armed subjects. Hunter has been fighting for the release of Marine Sgt. Andrew Tahmooressi, who has been held in a Mexican prison for more than two months since he crossed into Mexico through the San Ysidro Border in San Diego after he allegedly took a wrong turn.
“In light of the incarceration of Andrew Tahmooressi, who is still in Mexican custody, I asked DHS to provide data specifically on Mexican military and law enforcement incursions,” said Rep. Hunter in a press release. “DHS states that the number of incursions is ‘relatively few,’ but that is a misrepresentation of the frequency of these occurrences, which Mexico invites through its activities along the international border.”
Hunter said there “is a clear lack of consistency among DHS in handling these incidents, especially in cases of unauthorized incursions with armed authorities.”
In fact, a 2006 DHS map obtained by this reporter revealed that the Mexican military had crossed into the United States 216 times from 1996 to 2006. One of the maps had the seal of the president’s National Drug Control Policy.
U.S. officials, Border Patrol agents and law enforcement officials working along the border claim that some of the incursions are not accidental, but that members of the Mexican military are being paid by the drug cartels to aide in the movement of narcotics and contraband across the border.
“We’ve had Mexican military cross our border here in the Rio Grande Valley sector,” said a Border Patrol agent, who spoke on condition of anonymity as the agent was not authorized to speak on the matter. “It’s not always by accident, sometimes we just process them and send them back — other times they just return on their own.”
Hunter said in Tahmooressi’s case, Mexico has “shown its intolerance for the same action that its police and military initiated hundreds of times in the last several years alone.”
Tahmoorhessi had been seeking treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder in San Diego and was traveling with all of his belongings in his car, including his firearms. TheBlaze was the first to report on the 911 call made by Tahmoorhessi when Mexican border police began to surround his car at the crossing in San Ysidro. The Marine was meritoriously promoted to sergeant on the battlefield in Afghanistan and had survived several attacks while serving in combat.
“It’s time for the U.S. to reconsider its treatment of the incidents and send a direct message to Mexico that incursions won’t be tolerated along the international border,” Hunter added.
According to documentation provided by the DHS, there have been 81 armed encounters, of which 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,” the DHS told Hunter.
Follow Sara A. Carter (@SaraCarterDC)