MEXICO CITY – The U.S. Border Patrol confirmed 29 recorded incursions into the U.S. by Mexican military or other government agents in the last 12 months, according to a report made public Wednesday by a watchdog group.
Judicial Watch, a conservative, U.S.-based public interest group, said in a news release that Mexican officials were armed in 17 of the 29 incursions during the fiscal year between October 2005 to October 2006.
The group obtained the information through a request under the Freedom of Information Act. The report includes a description of a January 2006 confrontation between Texas officials and several armed men in military uniforms who were seen in a military Humvee near Fort Hancock, Texas. No shots were fired and the suspects fled back into Mexico.
Mexican authorities denied that any Mexican soldiers were involved but the confrontation heightened already tense relations between the U.S. and Mexico over border enforcement.
For years Judicial Watch has publicized government statistics on incursions by Mexican officials that range from drawing guns to wandering unintentionally a few feet across the border.
"These documents not only show the dangerous and chaotic situation at the Mexican border, but also the complicity of some Mexican government agents in violating U.S. law," Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton said in a news release.
Officials at Mexico's Foreign Relations Department did not respond to requests for comment.
Between 1996 and 2006, there were 253 confirmed incursions into the U.S by Mexican government officials, according to figures supplied by the Border Patrol to Judicial Watch.
There were 18 confirmed incursions in fiscal year 2005 and 23 in fiscal year 2004, according to the U.S. Border Patrol reports, which are posted on Judicial Watch's Web site. The most confirmed incursions were 2001, with 43.
U.S. officials also have been accused of incursions into Mexico. In November 2006, U.S. Border Patrol agents chasing suspected drug traffickers on the Texas border allegedly crossed into Mexico and had a brief standoff with Mexican police officers.