Deaths in Mexico by U.S. Border Agents Becoming an Alarming Trend

2nd Man Killed in the Last Three Months

2nd Man Killed in the Last Three Months

Melissa del Bosque

An U.S. Border Patrol agent has shot another man in Mexico – this time in Nuevo Laredo. Nora Isabel Lam Gallegos reported that her husband Guillermo Arevalo Pedroz, 36, was fatally shot on the Mexican side of the Rio Grande Monday at a popular park called “The Skating Rink.” Arevalo and his family were having a BBQ and celebrating a birthday, according to Gallegos who was interviewed by Laredo’s KGNS News.

Gallegos and other witnesses say U.S. Border Patrol agents in a boat were trying to apprehend a man swimming across the Rio Grande to Texas. The man turned back toward Mexico and an agent fired toward the Mexican side of the riverbank hitting Gallegos’ husband at the park. No Border Patrol agents were hurt in the incident.

In a statement from the Border Patrol, the agency said people in Mexico pelted the agents with rocks, reports KGNS News. The Mexican government has repeatedly lodged diplomatic complaints with the United States concerning the “disproportionate use of lethal force” by U.S. immigration agents. Both the FBI and the Mexican government are investigating the incident.

According to El Universal, a Mexico City-based newspaper, an U.S. citizen reportedly filmed the entire incident on a cell phone and turned it over to the Mexican authorities.

This is the second time an U.S. Border Patrol agent in Texas has fatally shot someone in Mexico in the last three months. In both cases, Border Patrol claimed they were being pelted with rocks, which required them to shoot in self defense.

On July 9, an U.S. Border Patrol agent fatally shot Juan Pablo Perez Santillan. The 30-year-old was standing on the bank of the Rio Grande in Matamoros just across from Brownsville. In a lawsuit filed by his family, they claim Perez Santillan was standing on the riverbank while a group of people swam across the river to Texas. The group was spotted by U.S. Border Patrol agents. In a statement after the shooting, the agency says its agents were pelted with rocks and fired in self defense.

This death in Nuevo Laredo is the fifth time an U.S. border agent has killed someone on Mexican soil in the last two years. Ramses Torres, 17, was shot in Nogales, Sonora, in 2011, and Jose Yañez Reyes was killed that same year in Tijuana. Sergio Hernandez Guereca, 15, was killed in Juarez in 2010 by U.S. Border Patrol, agent Jesus Mesa.

This a disturbing trend that doesn’t bode well for an already tense relationship with Mexico. With the increasing number of fatal shootings in Mexico by U.S. agents and the shooting of two CIA agents in Mexico last week by the Federal Police, Mexico’s incoming President Enrique Peña Nieto has not only domestic woes to contend with but international ones as well.

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Melissa del Bosque is a staff writer and a 2016-17 Lannan Fellow at The Investigative Fund.

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