Mexican Troops Kidnap Texas Family?
Jon E. Dougherty
Thursday, Dec. 4, 2003
As many as eight armed Mexican soldiers crossed the border near a tiny Texas hamlet and kidnapped an American family of five last week, and are still holding one of them, sources tell NewsMax.
According to a law enforcement source who spoke on condition of anonymity, the incident was reported to local authorities by family members upon their release the following day. From there, local officials reportedly contacted the FBI; federal officials are said to be looking into the incident.
The source said the Mexican unit may have been prompted to cross into the U.S. because the family – a father, mother and three minors – were shooting rabbits on their property near Candelaria, Texas, which is located along the border in Presidio County, about 170 miles south-southeast of El Paso.
A law enforcement bulletin describing the incident said the "family of five kidnapped … by Mexican officials at gunpoint" occurred around 5 p.m. local time Nov. 24. U.S. border authorities were notified the next day.
The family was "taken by gunpoint by Mexican officials to Mexico," the bulletin said. "As of Nov. 25 … four of the family members – one female and three minors – were released, while Escarcega, Ladislado [the father] remains in custody."
Presidio County, Texas authorities confirmed to NewsMax the incident had been reported to the sheriff's department, but a spokesman there said the FBI had taken over the investigation and referred questions surrounding the report to them.
An FBI spokeswoman in Washington, D.C., referred NewsMax to the bureau's El Paso, Texas office, but no one there returned calls seeking comment.
Nevertheless, the bulletin provided more specifics.
Shooting at Rabbits
"It's believed that the family members were shooting at rabbits along the [Rio Grande] river at the time of their kidnapping," the bulletin said. "Local law enforcement was contacted after the release of family members."
In the meantime, said the bulletin, "sector intelligence is continuing to gather information on the occurrence where ... follow-up information is needed."
Law enforcement sources said the family was not shooting into Mexico or otherwise threatening Mexican military or civilian personnel.
The latest incursion into the U.S. by armed Mexican troops follows a series of similar incidents directed against U.S. civilians and law enforcement authorities. The most high-profile kidnapping occurred in August 1985, when an eight-man squad of Mexican troops crossed the border onto private property in San Diego County.
The troops came looking specifically for Robert Maupin, the land owner, after he reported the presence of a methamphetamine lab to the Drug Enforcement Agency, which in turn reported it to Mexican authorities. The lab, Maupin told officials, was visible from his land inside the U.S.
More recently, in May 2002, three armed Mexican troops in a military Humvee on the U.S. side of the border near Ajo, Ariz., fired on a Border Patrol agent in his vehicle. As the agent drove away from the scene, a bullet shattered the back glass of his Chevy Tahoe patrol vehicle, which was clearly labeled with U.S. Border Patrol markings.
House Immigration Reform Caucus chairman Rep. Tom Tancredo, R-Colo., told the Washington Times a year ago that his office had documented 118 instances where Mexican military or law enforcement had been seen on U.S. soil. In 60 percent of those cases, he said, the Mexicans were armed.