Someone is going to have to talk long and hard to try and convince me that this practice is acceptable!
I'm thinking that they are extremely lucky that someone with a good rifle didn't take them out! That may happen yet, if the word isn't given ahead of time when this exercise is going to take place!
Mexican military flies over South Texas
Official says U.S. has cleared flights in war on drug trafficking
By DANE SCHILLER, HOUSTON CHRONICLE
Official says U.S. has cleared flights in war on drug trafficking
By DANE SCHILLER, HOUSTON CHRONICLE
With a Mexican navy helicopter whirring low over a rural community on the U.S. side of the Rio Grande, an American military veteran armed with marksmanship skills and a hefty rifle hankered from the ground to shoot it down.
"Don't do it," Zapata County Sheriff Sigifredo Gonzalez Jr. recalled warning the man on that Sunday afternoon last year.
The flight is one of as many as 10 in the past 17 months in which South Texans - in broad daylight - have spotted Mexican helicopters hovering overhead. The aircraft was so close to the ground military personnel could be seen inside, Gonzalez said.
While an array of U.S. federal and state agencies declined to comment, a Mexican government official confirmed that Mexican military helicopters have permission to use Texas as a staging ground for missions into Mexico to fight drug traffickers.
"Yes, I can tell you they exist, they are going on," said the official, who has knowledge of the flights. "Certainly, for the last couple of years," he said, noting that the U.S. government also has permission to fly unmanned surveillance planes in Mexico.
Most sightings have been in the vicinity of Falcon Lake, a region where authorities in Mexico are fighting the Zetas cartel.
In some instances, American civilians snapped photos of the flights and shared them with police. In the most recent incident last month, a Mexican military helicopter landed at Laredo's airport.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection offered minimal details, saying the pilot was lost.
Although apparently rare, permission to allow Mexican government helicopters to fly out of the United States goes back at least until 1987, when Mexican federal police flew in from West Texas to attack the legendary drug boss, Pablo Acosta, a marijuana kingpin.
U.S. Rep. Michael McCaul, who represents part of Harris County and is chairman of the Homeland Security Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee, declined to confirm details about the Mexican military's involvement with the United States.
"It is a highly sensitive, coordinated effort to take out the cartels that has been effective," he said. "Beyond that I don't want to compromise the operations or the safety of our agents."
Not the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, the Federal Aviation Administration or the Border Patrol would comment when contacted by the Houston Chronicle.
Gonzalez, who testified before a congressional committee in May about border security, said he doesn't know what he can tell the citizens of Zapata County.
The massive Rio Grande reservoir is where an American jet skier was reportedly killed last year while fleeing Zetas cartel gunmen in boats. His body was never found.
"Given the corruption in Mexico, how do I know what these guys are doing, dropping something off, picking some thing up – kidnapping somebody and taking them back to Mexico?" the sheriff asked.
"Citizens have complained," he said. "What do we do, shoot them down? Can you imagine someone saying, 'This is my country, I'm protecting it.' "?
Robert Kline, a retiree who lives part of the year in Zapata, said that in March 2010, the thump of helicopter rotors moving over Falcon Lake from Mexico startled him.
"I am standing on the deck looking at it. 'Holy man, that's not one of ours,' " he recalled.
On the helicopter was Marina, the word the Mexico uses for navy.
Catherine Frazier, deputy press secretary for Gov. Rick Perry, said state law enforcement is not being told in advance of any operations in which Mexico's military has permission to fly over Texas.
"Failure to do so stirs up unnecessary concern among local people, and could result in situations of mistaken identity or friendly fire, putting our peace officers and citizens in harm's way," she said.
Ricardo Alday, spokesman for the Mexican Embassy, declined comment.
"The Mexican government does not comment on operational characteristics of its efforts to confront transnational organized crime," he said.
In years past, the U.S. government has labeled some flights as "incursions," or unauthorized border crossings.
The conservative group, Judicial Watch, which specializes in obtaining government documents, has posted reports listing incursions by Mexican government employees, including at least eight helicopters in 2007, apparently the last year in-depth descriptions were available.
Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton said he can't imagine the Mexican military being permitted to fly over U.S. soil.
"There are always excuses that can be made for flying helicopters around …but to have authorized activity of that nature would be explosive," he said, adding it would "make the Fast and Furious program seem like a tempest in a tea pot."
Fast and Furious was an operation in which federal agents let guns slip into Mexico as part of a plan to track them to cartels. But the weapons were lost and some later turned up at the scene where a Border Patrol agent was killed.
U.S. Rep Ted Poe, whose district stretches from Spring to Beaumont, asked for an explanation for at least one flight which occurred over Starr County, not far from Falcon Lake.
"My office contacted Homeland Security and they confirmed that there was an unauthorized flight over Falcon Heights that day, but they said it was impossible to confirm whether or not it was actually a Mexican military helicopter or the drug cartels flying in a helicopter painted to look like a Mexican military helicopter," he said, "The Mexican military denies that they had any military helicopters flying the area that day."
Neither scenario is acceptable, he said.
"It is very disturbing that here are incursions into American air space by any aircraft originating from foreign countries and no one seems to be held accountable."
Maybe I'm over-reacting here, but I do not think this is a good idea! In fact, I think this whole practice truly SUCKS!
I have no idea who ever allowed foreign troops, armed troops, to freely fly across our borders without any warning to the citizens in the landing area! Just how are these locals supposed to know that this is NOT an invasion? In my humble opinion, the jerks behind this "brilliant" move are putting United States citizens right in harm's way!
Every day I have to question more and more some of the decisions that are being made by the PTB! I am not impressed! Not at all!
Coffee on the patio, anyone? I have some peach cobbler, some brownies, some chocolate cake and even some 7 up cake to go along with it! Sorry, but I'm saving the peanut butter cookies!
Mr. Jim, is all that good food left over from your family gathering? I'll take some cobbler please. About the Mexican aircraft flying in our country...sometimes I wonder if Mexico is taking Texas back stealthily. No war needed. We are LETTING them have it every time illegals settle in. Just my opinion. By the way, I've finally started my own blog. It's www.daughteroftexas.com. Hope you enjoy it as much as I do yours. I usually don't go to sleep until you post. Just a little routine I've gotten into. Take care.
It is indeed some goodies left over that didn't get carried away by everyone else! Now Mom has all kinds of very tasty stuff in her fridge.
I don't mind a bit going to her house and raiding the leftovers! I've always been a big leftover fan!
Besides, most of it always taste better the second day or so!
I've added your blog to my blogroll! I'm always glad to see someone new get into the blogging world! It's fun and a good way to blow off some steam!
Thanks for the kind words today. I appreciate it...and I appreciate the visit as well!
The sad thing IS, that the REAL Mexican military helicopters may now be the ones CARRYING the dope!
I would be much more concerned if these Mexican military aircraft were allowede to LAND on U.S. soil, to me a definite 'line in the sand. I own property in Starr county, very close to Falcon Lakr. There is a large amount of drug smuggling activity, as well as illegal alien smuggling. Not good, not good at all.
I used to tease my TX relatives that they lived in Northern Mexico. It's not so funny anymore.
Guess I'll roast up a fresh batch of coffee this morning and contemplate the state of the nation.
Sure sounds mighty suspicious to me. I agree with Gorges; how do we know the helicopters aren't carrying drugs. The Mexican army has been known to be corrupt. I am on my way over for coffee and leftovers. hahaha
Those leftovers sound yummy. As for the flyovers, etc. ...hell, why don't we just make Mexico another state. It seems half its population lives here anyway.
Someone, inocent or not, is going to get hurt or killed over this. Just wait until hunting season and see how many hole get put in those low flying Mexican helicoptors
If one ever gets shot down it would probably put a stop to it, even the US military doesn't normally pull stunts like this, flying low over private property and inviting trouble.
I had the very same thought!
I don't have a lot of faith in our own government, but none at all in that from Mexico!
Their track record for honesty isn't all that good!
Hey, thanks for coming by today!
Hey Anon 5:40...
You're kind of right in the middle of the hot spot, huh?
This whole thing seems to be so wrong on so many levels! I know they say it's necessary, but if that's so why don't we ever hear about it?
You take care and thanks for coming by today!
Probably more truth in that statement than we know!
Sometimes things sure do seem twisted, that's for sure!
Bet the house smells good when you are roasting that coffee!
Thanks for coming by today!
Like I said, I sure don't trust them!
Plenty of left overs to go around! I like days like this, when there are more desserts than anything else!
Thanks for dropping in today!
There sure seems to be a lot of them, that's for sure!
I saved you some goodies this morning! Try that peach cobbler! Pretty tasty!
Thanks for coming over this morning!
I'm afraid you're right about that! Then the folks that did the shooting will be tried and convicted as law breakers, I'll bet!
Seems like our priorities are all screwed up!
Thanks, buddy, for coming by today! Enjoy this cooler weather!
I would hope that our own military has better sense than that!
It will be interesting to see how this plays out!
From what I read, it's been going on for a while now!
I appreciate you coming over today!
Let me see now, it is ok for US troops to fly anywhere in the world, to launch rockets, cruise missiles and commando teams anywhere we please, HOWEVER let a few Mexican helicopters cross our borders doing what our troops should be here at home doing and it is totally unacceptable. Sounds kinda one sided to me. What's ok for the goose should be ok for the gander.
Where did you get the idea that I believe it was OK for American troops be allowed to go into another country and do what they wanted? I don't remember ever having said that!
As far as our troops being allowed to take care of the Texas border, or any of our borders, thanks to the stiffling rules passed down to the troops from the talking heads in DC, that will never happen!
I support our troops, but that doesn't mean I have to approve the wars we are fighting in other countries! I feel they should be at home and be able to guard the borders!
Sorry, but that's just how I feel! Have a great day and thanks for coming over this morning!
How bout our own Ft Hood, doing one of their exercises without notifying the ranchers or ANYONE here in our county??? When they were found, lighted up, and reported, they threatened the ranchers!!! Not even our sheriff's dept knew it. A driver going down the hwy reported a truck with what looked like AK47s and 3 ppl in it. Then, later the ranchers found them on their property. More than those 3, too.
Another good reason to take all the guns away from our citizens.
Build us a bigger army and let them take care of things the right, civilized way!
I have to say, even after seeing your response, that I agree with Jim on this one.
You cannot regularly violate everyone elses airspace (as we do) and then get all upset about them doing it to us, unless you also point out our own errors. Which you did not mention in the post.
U.S. high handedness about overflights has been much more in the news then the Mexican cross boarder wanderings.
Agree with Gorges on this. Also think that after a hunting accident or two, things might change.
Don't rightly know if this whole "War on Drugs" might be leading to more of these over-flights.
Time for some of that cobbler. Maybe sneak into the kitchen for the peanut butter cookie crumbs.
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