A few days ago I reported on 3 Americans being shot in Mexico at an army checkpoint. New information has now come to light. Apparently, the shooters were unsupervised Mexican Army soldiers trying to intimidate random passerby and opening fire on them. It is well-known that some in the Army are in league with the drug cartels and these Mexican soldiers may have been part of that routine.
The US Embassy in Mexico is now demanding Mexican officials conduct an official investigation into the shootings. The shootings apparently took place in El Sasabe, Sonora, Mexico which sits just across the border between Mexico and southern Arizona. The town has about 2500 residents and is known to be a drug and human trafficking smugglers “paradise.” And it’s been such for at least the past 10 years and probably longer. It is a normal and daily sight to see vans loaded with would-be illegal border crossers pour into the town in the spring. This town is one of the final points in Mexico prior to entering the US illegally. There is a US Port of Entry in the town but it’s only open from morning to early evening. The Port is closed at night. On the US side of the Port is the Arizona town of Sasabe with a population of about 25 people.
One of the Americans shot by the rogue Mexican soldiers, if in fact that’s what they were as they may have simply been drug cartel hitmen dressed as soldiers, is named Jose Rodriguez. He is a Mexican national born in El Sasabe who became a US citizen. He is 19 years old. He told KVOA reporters in Tucson that he and his compadres were visiting his mother in El Sasabe when the attack happened. The soldiers shot him in the right arm and another bullet almost hit one of his lungs. As he was shot he half fell and half scrambled out of the vehicle . He crawled to a nearby house.
One of the other men in the vehicle at the time with Rodriguez is named Gerardo Fuentes. He says the 3 were on their way to Rocky Point and planned to go there the next day. Fuentes admits that the 3 were drinking beer and driving when they passed a group of Mexican soldiers who were standing along the road near the center of the town.
The third man in the vehicle was Jose Javier. He was shot by the soldiers as well. The Mexican government still maintains that the 3 ran an official military checkpoint but Fuentes says that is a lie. He told the Tucson reporters that the trio didn’t see any checkpoint and neither did they see any signals or lights. According to him the whole area was dark. Fuentes and Javier ran off when the shooting began and the vehicle came to a stop. They found Rodriguez’s father and told him what had just happened. The father went to where the shooting happened and found Mexican solider surrounding his son, Jose. The soldiers let him take Jose to the US Port of Entry after Jose told them he did not need any medical attention. At the Port the US Border Patrol stabilized Jose and then airlifted him to the University of Arizona Medical Center in Tucson via helicopter.
Reportedly, there is a small regiment barracks located in the town of El Sasabe, Mexico where the shootings took place. Officers at that headquarters have refused comment on the shooting. Jose and his compadres say bullets hit the vehicle at least 15 times it was taken off to Caborca as “evidence.” In the Mexican city of Hermosillo a representative for the Mexican Federal Attorney General said they have no information about the shootings and refused to say if the matter was being investigated. The Mexican Consulate in Tucson, Arizona has refused repeated requests for interviews.
Locals in El Sasabe are reported to be “outraged” by the whole thing. The army checkpoint in the town is NOT in the center of town but is actually located 2 miles south of the town on a road that leads to Altar and Mexican Highway 2. Some people in the town say that this is a case of the army shooting inside the town in the middle of the night and endangering everyone’s lives. Most locals refused to be interviewed for fear of revenge by the military. One nameless police officer in El Sasabe said the shootings took place outside the regiment barracks. He went on to say that the reason the soldiers fired at the young American men is because the soldiers didn’t know who they were and they didn’t stop so the soldiers opened fire.
Some of the story these young men are telling is not accurate, obviously. The checkpoint is not in the middle of town but is outside of the town and there was, in fact, no checkpoint at all. These 3 where shot as they approached a Mexican Army regiment barracks in the middle of the night. The 3 were drinking and driving! They didn’t stop so the soldiers opened fire on them as they did not know who the men were or what they were doing. It appears to me these 3 were in the wrong and the Mexican soldiers actions were justified. No solider in his right mind is not going to shoot at a vehicle coming towards his barracks in the middle of the night. This story is trying to be played as if the Mexican soldiers were in the wrong but OBVIOUSLY they were not. It was the 3 Americans who were in the wrong. Next time try not drinking and driving and by all means stay the hell away from the soldiers!
To view the original SDNP post:
To read the KVOA Tucson news report: