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.Mexico claims that the helicopter was pursuing drug traffickers, but offered no explanation on why uniformed Border Patrol agents near a marked Border Patrol truck on the US side of the border came under fire from one of their military choppers. Although the Mexican government reportedly issued a brief apology for the armed incursion, the US Customs and Border Patrol and Department of Homeland Security have questioned Mexico's version of events.
This is not the first incursion by Mexican troops into southern Arizona this year. In January, uniformed Mexican soldiers armed with H&K G3 rifles pointed their weapons at a US Border Patrol agent while they were 50 yards across the US border near Sasabe, AZ. The soldiers reportedly told the lone agent they had gotten lost while pursuing a suspected drug smuggler.
While it is possible the helicopter could've veered off course in the dark, some have speculated they were providing cover for a drug shipment making its way across the border. In a 2006 incident, Sheriff's deputies in rural Hudspeth County, Texas chased a drug laden-SUV to the Rio Grande. The drivers attempted to cross back into Mexico but the vehicle got stuck on the opposite bank. As the drugs were offloaded into another vehicle, men in desert fatigues and driving Humvees fanned out and took up defensive positions on the Mexican side of the Rio Grande, pointing automatic weapons at the Hudspeth county deputies as the smugglers continued offloading the stuck vehicle.
This isn't the first incursion into US airspace by a Mexican military helicopter in recent years. Throughout 2010 and 2011, Federal and state lawmen as well as homeowners, sportsmen and journalists reported seeing helicopters with the Mexican Navy insignia fly across the border unimpeded throughout the Rio Grande Valley in southeastern Texas. In March 2010, a Mexican Navy helicopter with the ramp down and armed men visible inside was photographed on the US side of the border in Falcon Heights, TX where the border is clearly marked by the Falcon Reservoir and dam.
TEXAS- In response to an unprecedented influx of unaccompanied minors illegally crossing into the Texas via northern Mexico, Lone Star State governor Rick Perry has ordered additional officers from the Texas Department of Public Safety- including the Texas Rangers, Texas Highway Patrol and game wardens from the Texas Department of Parks and Wildlife- to patrol the border area in the Rio Grande Valley in what lawmakers are referring to as 'saturated patrols'. The influx of minors- primarily from Central America- is said to have been sparked by fliers distributed in Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras that promised asylum in the United States to anyone who showed up. In addition to the flyers, the rumors were further bolstered by a White House executive order from late last year in which Barack Obama de-prioritized the deportation of children in the USA illegally.
According to Border Patrol officers, the illegal immigrants were apparently coached on questions they were likely to face once they turned themselves in. More disturbingly, a number of the minors who have turned themselves in are gang members. However, unless they have a criminal record in the USA, they will reportedly be processed by INS like any other unaccompanied minor.
Meanwhile, the smugglers are becoming bolder and more aggressive, either physically attacking officers or firing shots at them from the Mexican side of the border.