President Donald Trump openly speculated that the Mexican troops who detained and disarmed American soldiers on the southern border were likely running cover for drug smugglers.
“Mexico’s Soldiers recently pulled guns on our National Guard Soldiers, probably as a diversionary tactic for drug smugglers on the Border. Better not happen again! We are now sending ARMED SOLDIERS to the Border. Mexico is not doing nearly enough in apprehending & returning!” Trump tweetedWednesday morning.
The president’s tweet follows news of two American soldiers getting stopped by “five or six” Mexican troops on the border town of Clint, Texas.
The two Americans were working south the border fence on April 13, but were still within U.S. territory. They were approached by a team Mexican troops carrying FX-05 Xiuhcoatl rifles. One of the Americans surrendered his Beretta M9 service pistol in an effort to deescalate the situation, and the Mexican troops went on to question their activities. One of the U.S. soldiers who spoke Spanish was later able to determine that they were Mexican military.
The incident has been determined so far to be a result of confusion from both sides. The Americans were in an unmarked Customs and Border Protection (CBP) vehicle, and the Mexican troops were also not easily identifiable.
“That area of the border is kind of confusing,” a NORTHCOM official said about the incident. “It may have been difficult for to know if they didn’t know the area as well or were new or something. I don’t think — it definitely wasn’t trying to overtake the U.S.”
Trump’s speculation is not unprecedented. Members of the Mexican military have a long history of working on behalf of drug cartels. A congressional panel in 2006 determined that men in Mexican military uniforms illegally entered U.S. territory and fired on CBP agents, all in an effort to provide cover for drug smugglers.
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