Lynn Brezosky, AP, July 13, 2006
Harlingen — South Texas sheriff’s deputies were investigating today whether Mexican gunmen who fired on deputies and Border Patrol agents from across the Rio Grande had crossed into the U.S.
Hidalgo County Sheriff Lupe Trevino said 200 to 300 shots were fired from automatic weapons Wednesday night, but no one was injured on the U.S. side and police didn’t fire back.
“This type of incident is a very good example of why I will not allow my deputies to patrol the river banks or the levees anywhere close to the river,” he said. “We do have drug trafficking gangs, human trafficking gangs, that will not hesitate to fire at us.”
Trevino said the shooting appeared to have started in Mexico, at a riverside ranch owned by a family from Donna. He said two brothers said they were with their father at the ranch when vehicles full of armed men drove into the ranch and opened fire on the ranch house, killing a ranch hand and taking their father hostage.
The mother said someone may have been killed, and police and Border Patrol initially went to the river bank to search for a body. Once there, the gunfire began.
“There is no doubt about one thing, that we were shot at from the Mexican side,” Trevino said, “a barrage that lasted over five minutes, maybe even seven.”
U.S. Customs and Border Protection statistics indicate violence on the border has escalated.
In the Rio Grande Valley sector alone, there have so far been 76 reports of violence against Border Patrol agents since the start of the fiscal year Oct. 1, including shootings, physical assaults, vehicle assaults, threats, and rock throwings. There were 35 for 2005.
Border-wide, there were 566 assaults against agents for fiscal year 2005, compared to 548 in 2004 and 375 in 2003.
Border Patrol spokesman Roy Cervantes said most of the violence was a result of increasing enforcement making smugglers more desperate.
WND, July 13, 2006
Hundreds of rounds of automatic weapons fire rained down on South Texas sheriff’s deputies and Border Patrol agents in Hidalgo County last night from the Mexican side of the Rio Grande.
The deputies were answering a call from two U.S. citizens who swam across the river to escape a gunfight at a Mexican ranch, reports the Monitor newspaper of the Rio Grande Valley. The two American brothers are suspects in other criminal investigations, said Hidalgo County Sheriff Lupe Treviño, according to the report.
The brothers reportedly called 911 at 7:45 p.m. saying gunmen burst into their family ranch in Mexico, killed a ranch hand and kidnapped their father. The brothers were able to make it across the river to the U.S. where they continued to attract gunfire — even after law enforcement authorities arrived.
When several deputies and four Border Patrol agents took the two brothers back to the riverbank to see if they might find any evidence or the shooters, they were met with a hail of gunfire — alternating from the south and east, suggesting some of the shots were also fired from U.S. territory.