WASHINGTON — Two U.S. soldiers in a remote area of Texas were confronted by Mexican soldiers who thought the Americans had crossed into Mexico, U.S. officials said Tuesday. The Mexican troops reportedly removed a weapon from the American soldier who was armed.
U.S. Northern Command, which manages military support for Customs and Border Protection, said the Americans were in a CBP vehicle in a remote area in the vicinity of Clint, Texas.
Active duty troops were first sent to the border in October 2018 to secure it from an arriving caravan of migrants.
The incident happened on April 13 and was first reported by Newsweek, which said one of the Mexican military members removed a service pistol from the hip of one of the Americans and threw it inside the U.S. government vehicle.
A Northern Command statement to The Associated Press on Tuesday said an inquiry by the Defense Department and CBP revealed that the Mexican military members believed they were on Mexican territory at the time they confronted the Americans. The incident happened on a slice of U.S. territory south of the border wall but north of the actual border.
"After a brief discussion between the soldiers from the two nations, the Mexican military members departed the area," Northern Command said. "The U.S. soldiers immediately contacted CBP, who responded quickly. Throughout the incident, the U.S. soldiers followed all established procedures and protocols." It said an inquiry is ongoing.
The more than 5,200 active-duty troops being sent by President Donald Trump to the U.S.-Mexico border will be limited in what they can do under a federal law that restricts the military from engaging in law enforcement on American soil.
The U.S. troops are at the border as part of a Trump administration effort to reduce illegal crossings.