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Mexican army shoots at U.S.

Date: Wed May 22, 2002 2:24 pm
Subject: Mexican army shoots at U.S.

INS confirms border incident with
By Bill McAllister
Denver Post Washington Bureau

Wednesday, May 22, 2002 -
WASHINGTON - Rep. Tom Tancredo,
accused the Mexican army Tuesday
of staging a "military incursion"
Friday night
into southern Arizona that ended
with Mexican soldiers firing shots
at a U.S.
Border Patrol vehicle.

Lori Haley, an Immigration and
Naturalization spokeswoman, confirmed
an incident occurred in a remote area
near Ajo, Ariz.

A U.S. agent spotted three Mexican
soldiers in a Mexican Humvee on U.S.
soil and was attempting to leave the
area when the rear window of his
was apparently shattered by gunfire,
she said. The agent was leaving the
"in an effort to avoid a
confrontation" with the Mexicans, she said.

"Because of the seriousness of the
incident" Haley said, U.S. authorities
launched a formal investigation and
are asking Mexican authorities to do

The Mexican government previously has
rejected Tancredo's charges that
Mexican police and military units
frequently cross the border. Tancredo,
leads a group of lawmakers opposed to
liberalizing immigration laws, has
U.S. officials believe the incursions
are related to drug trafficking.

The Republican from Littleton said he
fears gunplay between U.S. and
Mexican authorities unless officials
stop the incursions. "Unless we open
eyes and recognize that what's
happening along the U.S.-Mexico border is
one of our guys is going to get
killed," he said.

The INS confirmed the incident, but
Tancredo's version differed somewhat.
He said 10 soldiers were involved and
the shot damaged more than the Border
Patrol's rear window. He also said the
Mexicans came 10 miles into the U.S
before they were spotted.

Tancredo said U.S. agents believe the
shots were fired because Mexican
authorities were pursuing drug dealers
into the U.S.

"They are saying they had interdicted
a huge shipment of drugs," he said.
"Therefore everyone was antsy."

But "regardless of the circumstances,
they had happy trigger fingers," he

The U.S. vehicle was "clearly marked"
and should have been recognizable,
he said.

The agent told him, " "As far as I am
concerned, that (incursion) should
be an act of war,' " Tancredo said.

On May 3, Tancredo wrote Mexican
President Vicente Fox demanding that he
halt "incursions" by Mexican law
enforcement officers into the U.S.

Fox didn't respond.



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