New-AFP-Web-Header2 AFP_new_logo

Amazing Special Offers from the Barnes Review Magazine

My page   Tell a friend about this page




U.S. National Guardsmen Confronted On Border by Heavily Armed Gunmen


By Mark Anderson

SASABE, Arizona—In early January, a band of Mexican gunmen thought to be wearing either military uniforms or body armor entered the United States near Sasabe, Ariz., to test the mettle of the National Guard and see how far they could get. Accounts differ as to how many of them crossed onto U.S. soil, and it’s not clear how far they got, but there’s a general consensus that the invaders were on a scouting mission.

There was no exchange of gunfire between the invaders and Guardsmen, and no one was injured. The Guardsmen—who are posted on hilltops next to Army-green tents and serve as extra eyes and ears for the Border Patrol—reportedly were forced to flee from the gunmen, who later retreated back to Mexico. The Guardsmen, like the Minuteman citizen groups that are continually forming in several border states, only observe illegal border crossings and do not apprehend illegal aliens, limiting themselves to issuing reports to the U.S. Border Patrol.

The invasion by the gunmen took place Wednesday, Jan. 3, around 11 p.m. local time. National Guard Sgt. Edward Balaban told the Associated Press in a Jan. 5 article: “U.S. Border Patrol officials are investigating the . . . incident and trying to determine who the armed people were and why they approached the post near Sasabe, in the desert corridor between Nogales and Lukeville.”

Balaban said the troops “didn’t know how many people were involved because it was so dark.”

But Al Garza of the Minuteman Civil Defense Corps (MCDC), contacted by AFP, understands the Guardsmen had night-vision equipment, as did the intruders. He added that the armed incursion “was a deliberate perimeter probe” by an “infantry-trained force.”

Garza heard from reliable sources that the invaders were wearing helmets and vests and were armed. He speculated that the gunmen may have been current or former regular Mexican soldiers subcontracting for drug cartels.

“This is a known drug area,” Garza noted, pointing out that the Guardsmen were stationed there in the first place due to heavy human and drug smuggling in the vicinity. He also noted that at Naco, Ariz., where the MCDC’s private Border Fence Project took root, there have been similar sightings of gunmen in recent months, but they did not enter the United States. He believes the fence acts as a reasonable deterrent to would-be invaders, who always seek the path of least resistance.

According to various accounts, what’s known as the west desert corridor, where the invasion took place, has been the busiest in the “Tucson Sector” for marijuana seizures since last year. About 124,000 pounds of marijuana have been seized there since Oct. 1, said Border Patrol spokesman Rob Daniels. In that particular sector, marijuana seizures were up 28% this year, according to Border Patrol figures.

There also is an account of this standoff by Jim Kouri, a certified protection professional, terrorism expert, writer, commentator and contributing editor for Chief of Police Magazine. Kouri serves as the fifth vice president of the National Association of Chiefs of Police.

Kouri wrote in a Jan. 8 on-line column: “Since arriving in mid-June [2006] the Guard has assisted the Border Patrol by manning control rooms, doing vehicle and helicopter maintenance, repairing roads and fences, constructing vehicle barriers and fences and spotting and reporting illegal entrants in entrance-identification teams. There are dozens of National Guard entrance-identification teams along the Mexican border, including east and west of both Nogales and Sasabe and on the Tohono O’odham Nation [Papago Indians]. All of the teams are unarmed.”

Garza told AFP, however, that he understands that at least some of the Guardsman are armed but are instructed not to return fire if fired upon.

Kouri added: “With more Border Patrol agents and National Guard troops patrolling the Arizona section of the U.S.-Mexican border, it has become more difficult to smuggle drugs and people across, which may have caused drug and human smugglers to become more aggressive.”

He continued: “In a story that should have rang alarm bells in every newsroom across the nation, armed Mexicans entered the United States and attacked unarmed National Guard troops working at a Border Patrol post near the U.S.-Mexican border. The troops had to retreat to safety. Not surprisingly, the news story received scant coverage by the mainstream news media and hardly a mention on the Fox News Channel. It’s a story that should outrage all Americans including President George W. Bush.”

Bush announced last spring he would authorize the deployment of about 6,000 Guard troops to assist the Border Patrol.

American Free Press reporter Mark Anderson can be reached at [email protected]. He has been in the news business for more that 25 years. Watch future AFP issues for more of Mark’s “on-the-scene” reports and one-onone interviews all of vital interest to America’s future.

(Issue #5, January 29, 2006)

Please make a donation to American Free Press

Not Copyrighted. Readers can reprint and are free to redistribute - as long as full credit is given to American Free Press - 645 Pennsylvania Avenue SE, Suite 100 Washington, D.C. 20003

Updated January 20, 2007