The U.S. Customs and Border Protection on Saturday said that 14 Mexican soldiers were detained by border agents after they traversed through El Paso, Texas, coming from Mexico’s Ciudad Juarez.
“Just after midnight today CBP officers working at the Bridge of America’s international crossing in El Paso noted two Mexican military vehicles crossing the boundary and entering the U.S.,” the CBP told Reuters via an emailed statement.
On their part, the 14 Mexican soldiers said they did not realize that they were already within the U.S. The border agents confiscated their weapons and equipment for “safety and processing,” the CBP said. The Mexican military leadership was then contacted and arrived eventually at the port.
Soldiers were eventually released
Thirteen of the 14 Mexican soldiers were processed without incident except for one who was given a civil penalty after CBP officers found marijuana of personal use amount in his possession. Eventually, all 14 soldiers along with their equipment and vehicles were returned to Mexico at around 5 a.m.
Mexico’s Defense Ministry did not comment on the incident.
According to a witness, after the incident, the border crossing was closed for around two hours.
CBP agents ‘handcuffed the soldiers and asked them to put their hands up’
According to a witness who wished to remain anonymous, the CBP agents yelled at the Mexican soldiers to put their hands up and were instructed to drop their weapons immediately.
The witness, along with photos taken by Reuters during the incident, showed that CBP agents searched the vehicles and ushered the 14 soldiers away. They also appeared to be handcuffed.