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Mexican Government Drone Crashes in Texas

EL PASO, Texas -- Federal authorities are investigating why a Mexican drone was in Texas airspace and what caused the unmanned surveillance aircraft to crash into a backyard in El Paso.

The crash occurred after sunset Tuesday behind a house in a former agricultural area, the El Paso Times reported Friday. Police Detective Mike Baranyay said no one was injured.

U.S. officials did not release the exact location of the crash. The neighborhood is separated from Mexico by the Rio Grande, floodlights, the 15- to 18-foot tall border fence, a chain-link fence, a line of poles with surveillance cameras and a highway, according to the newspaper.

"We responded to a concerned citizen's call and recovered a small Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV), which belonged to the Government of Mexico (GOM)," said Jenny L. Burke, a spokeswoman for Homeland Security, in a statement.

Keith Holloway, spokesman for the National Transportation Safety Board, described the drone as a mini orbiter unmanned aerial vehicle.

"We are collecting data about the crash. We don't have the aircraft because it was returned to its owner," Holloway said.

Baranyay said the Border Patrol handed the drone back to Mexican officials at one of the international bridges. Border Patrol Agent Ramiro Cordero told the newspaper that numerous agencies were involved in returning the aircraft.

Officials at the Mexican consul's office in El Paso did not immediately comment.

Vincent Perez, spokesman for U.S. Rep. Silvestre Reyes, said the congressman's office was notified about the incident Thursday after asking the Department of Homeland Security about media reports of the drone.

"We don't have all the details yet, but we expect to receive more information" said Perez.

Reyes, a former chief of the Border Patrol's El Paso sector, chairs the House Select Committee on Intelligence.

John Concha, a spokesman for the El Paso Fire Department, said emergency units were not sent to the crash site because no one was injured.