Mexican military incursion prompts alert at Progreso bridge
Fri, 01 Oct 2010 20:43:23 GMT —
Americans reported getting stuck in Mexico following a chase that temporarily halted traffic at the Progreso International Bridge on Friday afternoon.
Hidalgo County Sheriff Lupe Trevio said Mexican soldiers were chasing a suspect in a black jeep across the bridge.
Sheriff Trevio said the suspect was stopped by customs officers on the American side of the border but several Mexican soldiers had crossed the international boundary of the bridge during the incident.
American authorities reportedly told the Mexican soldiers to return to their side of the border and they complied.
Local law enforcement officials said two Mexican military helicopters have been spotted on the American side of the Rio Grande River.
The presence of Mexican military helicopters and a large group of Mexican soldiers put American officials on alert.
The incident propmted a moblization of Border Patrol agents, Hidalgo County Sheriff's Office deputies, Texas Department of Public Safety state troopers and Progreso Police Department officers.
Customs & Border Protection
U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) spokesman Felix Garza reported that Mexican military personnel "lost sight" of the international boundary line and crossed the bridge onto the American side.
Garza confirmed that customs officers met with the Mexican military personnel and that the soldiers voluntarily returned to Mexico.
The Progreso International Bridge was not officially closed during the incident but Garza said traffic was "detained" in both directions between 2:45 and 4:30 p.m. Friday.
Garza said he could not confirm the chase or any arrest during the incident.
Americans Trapped in Mexico
Several Action 4 News viewers said they were trapped on the Mexican side of the border during the incident.
One woman said men who appeared to Mexican soldiers were not letting traffic enter the international bridge.
One man said he and his wife's family went to go eat at Arturo's Restaurant in Nuevo Progreso.
He returned to his car parked on the American side but his wife and her cousin were going to cross back in her cousin's truck after going shopping.
The man said his wife and her family remain stuck on the bridge trying to get back into the United States.
Action 4 News spoke to another person who was among a group of 30 Winter Texans.
She said Mexican soldiers would not let them onto the bridge and had them huddled for their safety behind a nearby building.
Action 4 News will post more information as it becomes available.