The Trump administration has concealed a deadly shootout that occurred on Sunday between border patrol agents and armed insurgents attempting to escort illegal immigrants into the United States, according to a White House source speaking under condition of anonymity.
At approximately 3 a.m., border protection officers in south Texas spotted a Zodiac raft ferrying illegal immigrants across the Rio Grande approximately 20 miles northwest of Del Rio. The area, known as Puerto del Diablo-Devil’s Gate-is frequently used by deportees seeking ingress to the United States after failing to cross at safer junctions.
Border agents claimed they identified the boat using thermal optics and saw 2-3 men in full tactical gear, wielding Kalashnikovs, at the bow, with 6-8 additional passengers in the rear. Agents sounded air horns and trained spotlights on the craft, attempting to frighten them off. Rather than heed the warning, the boat crews purportedly fired across the border in a hailstorm of lead that struck one agent in the head, killing him instantly. A second agent took three rounds to his legs and torso, but miraculously radioed for backup before succumbing to his wounds.
A second border patrol unit less than two miles away reached the carnage as the Zodiac crossed onto the U.S. side of the barely navigable river. They, too, took fire; rounds shattered the SUV windshield, and a bullet sliced through the driver’s neck. The surviving agent took cover and concealment behind a vehicle door and returned fire with his M4 carbine, targeting the inflatable raft rather than its occupants.
“His rounds hit the mark and the Zodiac rapidly deflated, emptying passengers in the river. Some simply vanished, carried away by the current. Others tried to swim back toward Mexico and maybe drowned. When the agent radioed his supervisor to give a situation report, he was told to stand down, to report to his unit for debriefing,” our source said.
The agent was forced to sign a non-disclosure agreement and threatened with punitive action—termination, fines, and possible imprisonment—if he spoke to anyone about the border battle. Meanwhile, a joint Department of Homeland Security/DEA “sanitation squad” arrived on scene to recover bodies, collect evidence, and determine whether any hostile forces or contraband had entered the U.S. As no drugs were found, they concluded the raft had carried only people, not narcotics.
“While not common, more and more desperate people are hiring armed mercenaries, either by pooling resources or over time receiving money from family already in the states, to shuttle them over the border. Other incidents, like this one, have been swept under the rug and gone unreported,” our source said.
In some cases, border guards are gunned down before they can draw or unsling weapons; strict rules of engagement prohibit guards from discharging weapons without first being fired upon, a longstanding edict Trump has not reversed.
Asked why Trump has not publicized the attack to underpin his border security agenda, our source gave two reasons: The White House still is unsure whom fired first, border officers or mercenaries, despite the surviving officer’s claims. In addition, the administration fears Democratic opposition to Trump’s policies will twist the event to further besmirch the embattled president by painting him as a trigger-happy racist, all too eager to fire first and ask questions later.