US, Mexican Authorities Struggle with Crimes Committed on Border
WESLACO - The recent deadly shooting that took place on international boundary lines near Fronton still has many unanswered questions.
Hidalgo County Precinct 4 Constable J.R. Gaitan said these types of investigations are complicated, especially when details are missing or unknown.
He said scenarios and details in a criminal case determine the entity in a prosecution. According to him, information amplifies when an incident occurs on international lines.
“Sometimes, they’re in Mexico. Sometimes, they’re on the U.S. side, but who’s to know,” he said.
Gaitan said cooperation from both countries is essential to solving a case.
“Sometimes the cooperation is there and sometimes the cooperation is not there… It’s just like nothing happened,” he said.
Gaitan said if a criminal case takes place in Mexican waters, Mexican authorities will take over the case.
“We have no control over that. We cannot go past the boundaries. We cannot. Any agency here in the U.S. cannot cross boundaries to try to investigate something, especially if it happened on the Mexican side,” he said.
According to Gaitan, the only circumstance where U.S. investigators would cross boundary lines is if Mexican authorities ask for help and allow cooperation.
“Just don’t get near those areas. Those areas are known to be bad areas, and we’ve hear them throughout the years not to get close to the boundaries of Mexican waters,” he said.
Gaitan advised people to stay away from international boundaries, especially areas known for criminal activity.
He said the case may become more complex if law enforcement isn’t present at the scene at the time of the crime on international lines.
CHANNEL 5 NEWS wanted to know how an individual is prosecuted for a criminal act on international boundaries.
McAllen attorney Fernando Mancias said if someone is shot and killed on international boundary lines and Mexican authorities prosecute, it tends to lead to a lesser sentence than if the person were prosecuted under U.S. law.