Photos released of Mexican helicopter flying over Falcon Heights
Sat, 13 Mar 2010 01:48:20 GMT —
Authorities have released photos showing a Mexican military helicopter flying on the American side of the border.
Zapata County Sheriff Sigifredo Sigi Gonzalez said the photos and eyewitness accounts prove helicopter flew unauthorized into American airspace on Tuesday evening.
The alleged incursion happened near Falcon Dam in the rural community of Falcon Heights.
Witnesses said the chopper had the Mexican navy logo, armed men inside and the cargo ramp down.
The chopper reportedly spent at least 15 minutes in the area before crossing back into Mexico.
The incident has been confirmed by both U.S. Customs and Border Protection and the Federal Aviation Administration.
Sheriff Gonzalez said they have information the helicopter was hovering over a drug cartel member TMs home in the area.
If they TMre looking for cartel members on the American side, that scare me, Gonzalez told Action 4 News.
Gonzalez said this is not the first time such an incident has happened.
He and other members of the Border Sheriff TMs Coalition have documented numerous incursions by the Mexican military over American skies and on American soil.
Most of them occur in Arizona or California where the boundary for the border is not clear.
But Gonzalez said the helicopter clearly and intentionally went over the expanse of Falcon Lake to arrive in the area.
He believes it may be the third or fourth such incursion into airspace over Zapata County.
The incident follows almost three weeks worth of violence that has unsettled many communities on the Mexican side of the border such as Reynosa, Camargo and Miguel Aleman.
Gonzalez said the incident undersocres the need for more funding for federal and local law enforcement agencies for border security.
Action 4 News spoke with the office of U.S. Congressman Henry Cuellar (D-Laredo), whose district includes Zapata and Starr Counties.
Cuellar declined an interview but released the following statement:"I am aware of the incident and Customs and Border Protection has confirmed it occurred. I have met with officials from the Department of Homeland Security headquarters in Washington D.C. On this, in addition to, recent border violence issues. As more information becomes available, we will share that information."Texas Gov. Rick Perry had a lot more to say about the incident. The Republican governor released the a statement about the incident on Friday.Perry said he was worried about the incident and recent uptick in violence south of the border. He wants more federal personnel and funding sent to the border.The Texas governor wants 1,000 National Guardsmen sent to the border."A porous border places Texas and the nation at risk from international terrorists, organized crime cartels and transnational gangs," Perry said in the statement. "Until the federal government fulfills its responsibility of securing our border, Texas will continue filling in the gaps by putting more boots on the ground, providing increased law enforcement resources and leveraging technology along the border."