During a tweet spree Wednesday morning, President Donald Trump posted about a recent incident at the southern border between US army soldiers and individuals who are believed to be members of the Mexican military.
“Mexico’s Soldiers recently pulled guns on our National Guard Soldiers, probably as a diversionary tactic for drug smugglers on the Border,” Trump tweeted. “Better not happen again! We are now sending ARMED SOLDIERS to the Border.”
Facts first: Based on the incident report and a statement from the US Northern Command, there is no evidence this encounter was “a diversionary tactic for drug smugglers.” The incident appears to have been caused by several misunderstandings.
According to the incident report, two US active duty soldiers were stationed in an unmarked vehicle on the US side of the border near Clint, TX. The two US soldiers saw five or six people “dressed in green military digital camouflage uniforms” and carrying what were thought to be Mexican assault rifles. These individuals approached the vehicle in a “swift tactical manner” according to the report.
The US soldiers were told at gun point to get out of the vehicle. They were then “gently searched” according to the report. One of the soldiers had his pistol removed and put into the unmarked US vehicle. When the two were asked who they were working for and “why they were in Mexico” (all in Spanish) they identified themselves as members of the US army.
According to officials, only one of the US soldiers spoke some Spanish and explained the situation to the group.
The Mexicans told the two that they were in Mexico and needed to leave. The five or six Mexicans left after 5 to 10 minutes in a Ford pickup which had a “tactical rack in the back.” (The US soldiers, however, did not see any identifiable seals, name tags, patches, or symbols on the five or six Mexicans save for Mexican flags on the camo uniforms, according to the report.)
Officials told CNN that in the area this incident occurred it is “very easy” for individuals to confuse what side of the border they are currently on.
Based on the incident report and statements from officials, there is no evidence that this incident was “a diversionary tactic for drug smugglers.” In fact, it would appear to be a tense misunderstanding with an unmarked vehicle and confused border lines.