US Border Patrol Detains 14 Mexican Soldiers at El Paso; 1 Found Possessing Marijuana

Fourteen Mexican soldiers were detained early Saturday morning for several hours by U.S. border agents after they crossed into El Paso, Texas, from Mexico's Ciudad Juarez, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) said.

"Just after midnight today CBP officers working at the Bridge of the America's international crossing in El Paso noted two Mexican military vehicles crossing the boundary and entering the U.S.," the CBP told Reuters in an emailed statement.

US-mexico border
US-Mexico border Reuters

The 14 Mexican soldiers said they did not realize they had entered the United States and U.S. border agents secured their weapons and equipment for "safety and processing," said the CBP, adding that Mexican military leadership was contacted and arrived at the port shortly thereafter.

Soldiers, Equipment and Vehicles Returned to Mexico

Thirteen of the 14 Mexican soldiers were processed without incident, but one soldier was assessed a civil penalty after CBP officers discovered a personal use amount of marijuana in his possession.

All 14 soldiers, their equipment and vehicles were returned to Mexico before 5 a.m, said the CBP.

El Paso border
The border fence between El Paso and Juarez has an elaborate gate structure to allow floodwaters to pass under. The grates prevent people being able to cross under, and can be raised for floodwaters carrying debris. Beyond the fence is a canal and levee before the Rio Grande; the Border Patrol cars hang out on the levee. (Representational Image) Wikimedia Commons

Mexico's Defense Ministry did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Due to the incident, the border crossing was closed for about two hours, a witness to the events said.

Border Patrol using whips against Haitian refugees
Border Patrol using whips against Haitian refugees Twitter

"The CBP (agents) yelled at the soldiers to put their hands up and drop their weapons immediately," said the witness, who asked not to be named.

The CBP agents searched the vehicles and then escorted away the soldiers, which appeared to be handcuffed, according to the witness and photos of the situation that Reuters saw.