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Trump Speculates Mexican Troops Pulled Guns On American Soldiers To Protect Drug Smugglers

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Jason Hopkins Immigration and politics reporter

President Donald Trump openly speculated that the Mexican troops who detained and disarmed American soldiers on the southern border were likely running cover for drug smugglers.

“Mexico’s Soldiers recently pulled guns on our National Guard Soldiers, probably as a diversionary tactic for drug smugglers on the Border. Better not happen again! We are now sending ARMED SOLDIERS to the Border. Mexico is not doing nearly enough in apprehending & returning!” Trump tweeted Wednesday morning.

The president’s tweet follows news of two American soldiers getting stopped by “five or six” Mexican troops on the border town of Clint, Texas.

The two Americans were working south of the border fence on April 13, but were still within U.S. territory. They were approached by a team Mexican troops carrying FX-05 Xiuhcoatl rifles. One of the Americans surrendered his Beretta M9 service pistol in an effort to deescalate the situation, and the Mexican troops went on to question their activities. One of the U.S. soldiers who spoke Spanish was later able to determine that they were Mexican military.

The incident has been determined so far to be a result of confusion from both sides. The Americans were in an unmarked Customs and Border Protection (CBP) vehicle, and the Mexican troops were also not easily identifiable.

TIJUANA, MEXICO - JANUARY 10: U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agents stand guard on the U.S. side of the U.S.-Mexico border during a 'large-scale operational readiness exercise' on January 10, 2019 as seen from Tijuana, Mexico. President Trump is visiting the southern border in Texas today. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

TIJUANA, MEXICO – JANUARY 10: U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agents stand guard on the U.S. side of the U.S.-Mexico border during a ‘large-scale operational readiness exercise’ on January 10, 2019 as seen from Tijuana, Mexico. President Trump is visiting the southern border in Texas today. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

“That area of the border is kind of confusing,” a NORTHCOM official said about the incident. “It may have been difficult for [the Mexican troops] to know if they didn’t know the area as well or were new or something. I don’t think — it definitely wasn’t trying to overtake the U.S.” (RELATED: Border Patrol Costs Exploding As More Migrant Families Reach The US)

Trump’s speculation is not unprecedented. Members of the Mexican military have a long history of working on behalf of drug cartels. A congressional panel in 2006 determined that men in Mexican military uniforms illegally entered U.S. territory and fired on CBP agents, all in an effort to provide cover for drug smugglers.

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