McALLEN, Texas — Days after a Texas State Trooper and a U.S. Border Patrol agent were struck by gunfire from Mexico near the Rio Grande, federal agents claim that U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is trying to downplay the latest case of cross-border violence.
Last week, Texas State Trooper Danny Shaw was shot in the leg and an unnamed U.S. Border Patrol agent was hit in the chest from bullets fired across the border near Roma, Texas. At the time of the shooting, Mexican cartel gunmen had been engaging the military in a firefight near the town of Miguel Aleman.
Trooper Shaw was flown by a Texas Department of Public Safety Helicopter to a local hospital where he underwent testing and treatment. Breitbart Texas has since confirmed that the unnamed Border Patrol agent was shot in the chest with the bullet striking a loaded ammunition magazine that the agent had clipped onto his body armor.
“This incident once again shows the lack of concern that has been displayed by the Obama Administration for over seven years,” Border Patrol agent Shawn Moran said to Breitbart Texas speaking on his capacity as National Border Patrol Council (NBPC) Vice President. “Instead of reacting forcefully, CBP prefers to make excuses instead of adequately protecting its agents.”
According to Moran, attacks on agents occur regularly as Mexican cartel smugglers have become more aggressive to keep law enforcement from seizing or interfering with cargo.
“We know the threat from Mexico to Border Patrol agents and other law enforcement on the U.S. side of the border is real, yet our personnel are continuously outgunned, lack adequate numbers of upgraded body armor, and must resort to sharing that armor when patrolling the border,” Moran said.
Initial explanations of the event argued that the law enforcement officers faced stray or inadvertent fire. Border Patrol agent and NBPC Local 3307 Vice President Chris Cabrera told Breitbart Texas that the repeat accuracy of the shots calls into question any assertion that these were random incidents.
‘That area is controlled by various factions of the Gulf Cartel and those guys are professional assassins,” Cabrera said. “The other group shooting were professional soldiers. Our agent was hit ‘center mass’ by a professional. For the agency to downplay this as ‘inadvertent’ shows the lengths this administration will go to in efforts to protect Mexico from being held responsible. As always–as the NBPC–we will fight for our agents over the diplomatic concerns of any administration.“
According to Cabrera, if CBP and U.S. Border Patrol were serious about securing the border, agency leadership push Congress to better equip ground-level agents.
“Investments in technology could be better served by protecting Border Patrol agents on the ground,” Cabrera said. “We need to be supplied the proper equipment. Our agents should not be sharing body armor when facing off against the most dangerous criminal elements in the Western Hemisphere.”
The apparent attack on the agents took place in an area where earlier this year, Mexican cartel smugglers fired at U.S. Border Patrol agents in an effort to keep them from interfering with a smuggling attempt.
In June 2015, smugglers with Mexico’s Los Zetas cartel forced down a CBP helicopter with small arms fire. As Breitbart Texas reported at the time, the helicopter did not have any armor plating but the pilot managed to survive the attack by placing his personal body armor on the floor of the craft.
Ildefonso Ortiz is an award winning journalist with Breitbart Texas. He co-founded the Cartel Chronicles project with Brandon Darby and Stephen K. Bannon. You can follow him on Twitter and on Facebook.