Border patrol agents who were patrolling the Rio Grande early on Aug. 9 were shot at from the Mexican side of the riverbank, the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) said in a statement.
The federal agency said agents assigned to the Rio Grande City Station Marine Unit were patrolling near Fronton in south Texas when they came under fire. The agents reported over 50 rounds were shot at them by four people with automatic weapons.
“The boat was hit several times but no one on board was injured,” the press release said.
CBP said they have launched an investigation into the incident.
CBP did not respond to requests for more information, including if the Border agents fired back, or how many agents were in the boat.
A #BorderPatrol Marine Unit patrolling near Fronton, TX reported they were fired upon from the Mexican riverbank. Agents saw 4 subjects who shot over 50 rounds at them. No one on board was injured, but the boat was hit. The incident is under investigation. https://t.co/Yz7noAMnFk pic.twitter.com/BfTGw83KMT
— CBP RGV (@CBPRGV) August 9, 2019
The border city of Fronton is about 20 miles away from Rio Grande City and about 7.4 miles away from the Mexican city of Miguel Alemán, which is known for its drug cartels and gun battles.
The Epoch Times reported back in April that the Rio Grande City Border Patrol station is responsible for the 68-mile strip of international border in southeast Texas and is the busiest of the nation’s 135 stations for drug seizures. It is also the second busiest for illegal alien apprehensions.
The station has seized about 42,000 pounds of narcotics so far this fiscal year as of April but Raul Ortiz, deputy chief Border Patrol agent for the Rio Grande Valley sector, told The Epoch Times they are “not even probably catching about 10 percent of it”
That would mean 378,000 pounds of drugs have made it across into the Rio Grande City area between the ports of entry.
Miguel Alemán is known for being a location where two cartels—Gulf Cartel and Los Zetas—meet and battle for territory.
“The cartels are starting to push alien traffic out here [where] there’s nothing [but] a little, bitty village,” Ortiz said. “And why are they doing that? Not because it’s a close proximity to a community. No, because the cartels are using that as a diversion so they can tie up our hands so our agents can’t get to the narcotics or to smuggled alien traffic.”
This is not the first time agents patrolling the southern border were assaulted. In September last year, an agent who was sitting in his marked patrol car in an area approximately one and a half miles west of the San Ysidro Port of entry in California was shot at multiple times.
The bullets were believed to have originated from the Mexican side of the border. The agent was not injured and immediately left the area to a safer location after the incident occurred.
“Mexican authorities were contacted as the shooting appeared to originate from the Mexican side of the border. Mexican authorities responded and initially took two subjects into custody, one of them was in possession of a handgun, the other was released,” the press release at the time said.
According to CBP data, there were 794 incidents of assaults against border patrol agents in the 2018 fiscal year.
Epoch Times reporter Charlotte Cuthbertson contributed to this report.