San Diego Union-Tribune

May 21, 2002

Mexican soldier's shot at U.S. agent investigated

Marcus Stern 

May 21, 2002 

WASHINGTON A Mexican soldier fired at and struck a Border
Patrol vehicle along a remote stretch of the Arizona-Mexico
border Friday night, U.S. and Mexican government sources said

Officials of both governments were meeting yesterday to try to
unravel the confusion surrounding the incident, which occurred
not far from where officials of the two countries plan to launch a
public awareness campaign Thursday to promote summer
border safety.

It also comes at a time of heightened tension over alleged
incursions by Mexican military and law enforcement officers
along the southwest border.

It was unclear yesterday whether a border incursion had
occurred during the Friday incident and, if so, whether it had
been made by the soldiers or the agent.

U.S. and Mexican authorities said it began when a Border Patrol
agent based in Ajo, in western Arizona, saw headlights near the
border and went to investigate.

"When he got there he saw it was a Mexican military vehicle,"
said Bill Strassberger of the Immigration and Naturalization
Service. "He began to leave the area. His back window was shot
out. The bullet passed through the front window."

Mexican officials would not comment publicly.

One Mexican official said its military has been conducting a
counter-drug operation in the area. A U.S. official said drug
smuggling and Mexican military activity have intensified there
during the past several weeks.