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  1. #1
    Senior Member JohnDoe2's Avatar
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    One dead in border violence

    One dead in border violence

    Sources say shootout crosses river

    February 02, 2012 8:14 PM
    THE MONITOR

    NEAR SULLIVAN CITY — A shootout between members of rival organized crime groups and the Mexican military ended at the banks of the Rio Grande, where at least one man was killed on the U.S. side.

    The shootout began Thursday afternoon along the Ribereña Highway near the Anzalduas International Bridge in Reynosa between the organized crime groups, according to a source outside law enforcement with direct knowledge.

    Members of the Mexican military responded to the scene and a chase ensued for more than 20 miles from the area all the way to the outskirts of Diaz Ordaz, Tamaulipas, where some of the men then tried to make their way to the U.S. side, the source said.

    U.S. Border Patrol agents patrolling the river near Havana encountered several subjects. One of them was injured, which prompted the agents to seek medical attention for the man, said USBP spokeswoman Rosalinda Huey.

    At the scene, at least two men were taken into custody by U.S. authorities.

    A U.S. law enforcement official not authorized to speak to the media said that U.S. law enforcement officials discharged their firearms during the incident and also confirmed at least two or more bodies could be seen on the Mexican side of the border.

    Soon after the incident, a U.S. law enforcement helicopter could be seen overhead combing the area for additional suspects.

    FBI spokesman Erick Vasys said his agency had taken over the investigation because at least one person had possibly died on the U.S. side. However, because the investigation is in its early stages, he would not disclose additional information, including whether the men were armed or fleeing a firefight.

    3 Shootout crosses border, sources say | sources, border, crosses - Brownsville Herald
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  2. #2
    Senior Member JohnDoe2's Avatar
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    FBI says men crossed the Rio Grande after a firefight in Mexico

    FBI says men crossed the Rio Grande after a firefight in Mexico

    By Lynn Brezosky
    Published 01:02 p.m., Friday, February 3, 2012

    BROWNSVILLE — The FBI is investigating the death of a man who fled to the U.S. side of the Rio Grande with others late Thursday to escape a firefight in Mexico.

    “I can confirm that we are investigating a death and injuries as yet not determined, and we're still trying to sort out the circumstances as to how and why these individuals crossed over,” FBI Special Agent Erik Vasys said Friday.

    Vasys emphasized that the investigation was “very preliminary.” He said he did not have an exact count of the injured individuals, but knew there were several. All needed medical attention and were still in local hospitals Friday morning.

    U.S. Border Patrol agents and Texas Department of Public Safety troopers responded to the incident in western Hidalgo County on Thursday evening.

    Vasys said the men were found on a federal wildlife refuge, which put it in FBI jurisdiction.

    “It looks like these individuals crossed over from Mexico to escape some type of conflict over there,” Vasys said. “We don't know the extent or the origin of the conflict, but they definitely crossed over and were quickly taken into custody by Border Patrol and DPS. ... What we're looking into overall is what happened, how did someone come to die on U.S. soil on a federal reservation,” he said.

    He said he did not have information on whether U.S. law enforcement fired weapons.

    Supervisory Border Patrol Agent Rosalinda Huey said the individuals crossed near Havana, which is near tracts of the Lower Rio Grande National Wildlife Refuge.

    She said she could not comment further because of the FBI investigation.

    It was not the first recorded incident of likely drug smugglers fleeing to the dense scrub on the U.S. side while under fire.

    In November, Border Patrol agents apprehended a wounded man who had crossed near La Rosita in Starr County, about 30 miles west of Havana.

    Starr County Sheriff Rene Fuentes said the man, a Starr County resident with prior arrests, was being shot at by Mexican military.

    The lands on the Mexican side of western Hidalgo, Starr, and Webb counties are prime drug staging and smuggling zones, and as such hotly contested by warring drug cartels.

    In October, following a Mexican military raid of an alleged Zeta cartel training camp, Webb County Sheriff Martin Cuellar told the San Antonio Express-News the Zetas may have located the camp near the border because they knew they could swim across if under attack.

    Staff Writer Jason Buch contributed to this story from San Antonio.

    lbrezosky@express-news.net

    FBI says men crossed the Rio Grande after a firefight in Mexico - San Antonio Express-News
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  3. #3
    Senior Member JohnDoe2's Avatar
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    Details emerge in deadly cross-border shooting

    February 03, 2012 10:11 PM
    THE MONITOR

    NEAR SULLIVAN CITY — The five men who crossed the Rio Grande Thursday — reportedly to avoid apprehension by the Mexican military — were unarmed when soldiers shot at them from Mexico, a U.S. law enforcement source close to the investigation said.

    One man died on U.S. federal land, another suffered a gunshot wound to the ankle that was not life-threatening, and three others were taken into custody by U.S. federal authorities, San Antonio FBI spokesman Eric Vasys said Friday.

    U.S. authorities have not given a full explanation as to what drove the men to cross the Rio Grande about 6 p.m. Thursday near the Mexican town of Diaz Ordaz, southwest of the U.S town of Sullivan City.

    "We’re looking into the circumstances that led to these individuals crossing over," Vasys said. "(The investigation) is still ongoing and we’re trying to sort it out."

    Different versions of events were circulating. In a disputed report, a Border Patrol agent not authorized to speak publicly about the investigation told a Monitor reporter that a U.S. Customs and Border Protection helicopter radioed in a shots-fired call about two hours prior to the men being shot. The agent said someone on U.S. soil apparently shot at the helicopter that was purportedly carrying advisers to the White House and the Department of Homeland Security as they toured the border near La Joya.

    Vasys said he had not heard of any such reports, and a second law enforcement official, also not authorized to speak publicly, said that likely did not happen.

    "It was not a U.S. law enforcement helicopter that got fired on, but rather a Mexican government helicopter," the second U.S. law enforcement official said.

    A Mexican military helicopter began chasing the men during an operation along the river, and the men shot at it at one point while in Mexico, he said.

    It’s unclear if they swam across the river or simply found a location where they could cross the border by foot, but the individuals apparently ditched their weapons before crossing into the U.S. because authorities did not find any on them, he added.

    "When they got to the U.S. side, the illegals that had crossed over started taunting the Mexican military — doing all kinds of obscene gestures and cuss words — and then the military fired upon them," he said. "We don’t believe the illegals that came across were armed."

    A source outside law enforcement said that for a long time, certain members of the Mexican military had been working alongside members of the Gulf Cartel.

    In order to keep up appearances, drug smugglers would leave behind vehicles loaded drugs for the soldiers to seize so the members of the military could report back to their superiors, the source said. The communications to coordinate the drops between drug smugglers and soldiers were carried out with Nextel radio communication telephones that are difficult to trace.

    However, during the Gulf Cartel’s internal struggle that began last September, some of these troops were caught in the crossfire.

    “They are mad and now all bets are off,” the source said. “Remember, last week (Jan. 26), the military killed some people in the morning, and then the ambush happened. The ‘Verdes’ are out for blood.”

    In an apparent day of firefights last week, the Mexican military was ambushed in the streets of Reynosa by members of the Gulf Cartel who set up a bait car to draw out the soldiers. The Mexican military didn’t issue any news releases in connection with the firefights that day.

    Prior to that, unknown assailants had lobbed two grenades at the headquarters of the Matamoros military police, killing one man and critically injuring another.

    Vasys did not have information about whether the men taken into custody Thursday night were armed or not, he said, adding that U.S. authorities did not discharge their weapons at any time during the incident.

    Authorities did not release the men’s identities.

    The Mexican Consulate in McAllen also was waiting to learn the identity of the man who was killed, Consul Jose Manuel Gutierrez Minera said about 4:30 p.m. Friday. He expected the information to come from federal authorities late Friday.

    "Out of respect for the family, we usually wait to contact them first before releasing information," he said.

    U.S. authorities do not know if anyone died in Mexico during the incident, Vasys said.

    The FBI is heading the investigation because the incident happened on land owned by the federal government.

    "It’s not a common theme for FBI to be involved in altercations (along the border) because so much of what we do is long-term investigation," he said. "Historically, the FBI is a follow-up investigative entity unless we’re working an active investigation of drug trafficking by the cartels or gang activity along the border."

    The agency, however, does get involved any time a federal agent is wounded or killed, he said. So if a Border Patrol agent is hurt along the border, the FBI will take over those investigations, too.

    Vasys would not comment on whether the shooting could be classified as spillover violence.

    "I’m not going to speak to that," he said. "FBI deals with investigation and enforcement. So what we’re doing is the follow up to the death that occurred on U.S. property. I’m not going to speak to what this may or may not be characterized by other government sources."

    Spillover

    “The situation in Mexico has been a concern for our agency,” said Texas DPS Director Steve McCraw.

    “Our concern is that criminal organizations in Mexico combating each other or the Mexican military could attempt to flee to our side of the border. To address those concerns, we have established contingency plans and work alongside federal and local agencies.”

    The incident in Havana is just one of the many types of incidents law enforcement in the area is prepared for.

    “The average citizen should know that there are state, local and federal law enforcement professionals working in a proactive fashion to address any contingency. Texas has been very proactive in this; we have increased our patrol presence and our tactical capabilities to deter any situation.”

    While McCraw was not able to discuss details of the situation, he said his agency dissects and studies all border incidents that it responds to.

    Details emerge in deadly cross-border shooting | deadly, details, emerge - Brownsville Herald
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  4. #4
    Senior Member JohnDoe2's Avatar
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  5. #5
    MW
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    Wow, who says Mexican violence isn't crossing the border?

    "The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing" ** Edmund Burke**

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