As reported by Tucson NBC affiliate KVOA, a Mexican military helicopter not only crossed the international border, but also opened fire on U.S. Border Patrol agents. With the story still developing, it’s been initially reported that the Mexican copter’s entry into American airspace was entirely accidental.
Supposedly engaged in a drug interdiction mission, the helo crossed the Arizona/Sonora border west of the San Miguel Gate unofficial border crossing, on the road known officially as Indian Route 19. The area where the illegal crossing by the Mexican military took place was over the Tohono O’odham Indian Nation located in south-central Arizona.
Reportedly, this was not part of any US-Mexican joint drug bust operation. Both the U.S. Border Patrol and the union representing Border Patrolmen in greater southern Arizona have issued statements regarding at least two shots being fired by the Mexicans on at least two different U.S. agents. Andy Adame, the official spokesman for the Border Patrol Agency, released the following:
Early this morning, a Mexican law enforcement helicopter crossed approximately 100 yards north into Arizona nearly 8 miles southwest of the Village of San Miguel on the Tohono O’odham Indian Nation while on a drug interdiction operation near the border. Two shots were fired from the helicopter but no injuries or damage to US property were reported. The incident is currently under investigation.
The president of the American Federation of Government Employees, Local 2544, Art del Cueto, Border Patrol Tucson Sector released essentially the same information, but added that the Mexicans were officially sorry:
The incident occurred after midnight and before 6 a.m. Helicopter flew into the U.S. and fired on two U.S. Border Patrol agents. The incident occurred west of the San Miguel Gate on the Tohono O’odham Indian Nation. The agents were unharmed. The helicopter went back into Mexico. Mexico then contacted U.S. authorities and apologized for the incident.
Neither these organizations nor news stations have mentioned whether the Border Patrolmen fired upon ever returned fire. Neither has any group or individual explained how a state-of-the-art aircraft presumably equipped with GPS navigation was unaware it was crossing an international border.