(Washington, DC) – Judicial Watch announced today that it obtained documents from the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) that confirm a June 26, 2014, attack by a Mexican government helicopter on U.S. Border Patrol agents. The Mexican helicopter crossed into U.S. airspace before firing on U.S. Border Patrol personnel. The Mexican government initially denied that the attack near Arizona’s San Miguel Gate occurred, but later admitted to the armed incursion.
The CBP documents were released in response to a July 9, 2014, Judicial Watch Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to CBP seeking:
Any and all records regarding, concerning or related to the June 26, 2014 incident near Sells, AZ on the Tohono O’Odham Indian Reservation during which one or more Mexican military helicopters reportedly entered U.S. airspace and fired shots in the vicinity of U.S. Border Patrol personnel.
The CBP records include a description of the record (memo, email, etc.) author, recipients, date of record, etc. The document title notes:
- [US Border Patrol] Agents from the Tucson Sector Foreign Operations Branch were parked approximately 100 yards north of the Border on the U.S. Side when they observed a Mexican LEA helicopter cross north into the U.S. for approximately 100 yards. The agents then heard and observed two rounds being shot from the helicopter which landed approximately 15 yards to the side of one of the unmarked Border Patrol Vehicles (FOB) they were driving. Also, there were two marked vehicles at the scene next to the unmarked as well.
- A total of six Mexican law enforcement helicopters flying near the Represito Ranch were observed by the four agents. Two agents were driving two marked Border Patrol vehicles and two additional agents were in a third, unmarked vehicle when one of the helicopters flew directly north and crossed into the US approximately 100 yards. The helicopter immediately turned back south into Mexico and landed at the Represito Ranch where Government of Mexico (GOM) officers exited the aircraft. Five GOM officers walked north and approached the International Border Fence where the incident had occurred, and subsequently made contact with the agents. The GOM officers apologized for the incident and stated that the incident had been reported to their main office in Mexico City, D.F.
The information obtained by Judicial Watch revealing that “GOM officers … stated that the incident had been reported to their main office in Mexico City” directly conflicts with the initial response from the Mexican government. According to the New York Daily News:
Tomás Zerón, the director of the Mexican attorney general’s office investigative office, said that Mexican military and federal police who were conducting an operation on a ranch in Altar, Sonora, were shot at by criminals. Mexican authorities never fired any weapons and in fact never crossed into the U.S. side of the border, he said.
Going back a decade, Judicial Watch has forced both the Bush and Obama administrations to release documents detailing intentional border incursions by Mexican military and other government personnel.