Newly surfaced video shows a Texas Department of Public Safety helicopter being used to flip a raft of smugglers attempting to cross the Rio Grande River.
The state agency is now investigating the September 5 incident after a grainy video shot by an unknown person on the Mexican side of the border was obtained by a local news agency.
In the video, a group of smugglers are seen swimming away from a DPS helicopter, just before it descends toward a green raft and forces it to flip over.
A spokesperson says the agency will now review the incident, which resulted in the recovery of 96 pounds of marijuana and the capture of a suspected cartel member, for a possible breach of protocol.
“The department is reviewing this incident as it relates to compliance with department safety and security protocols,” Texas DPS spokesman Sgt. Johnny Hernandez said in a statement. “No injuries were reported. One suspected cartel member was arrested and approximately 96 pounds of marijuana was seized. The other suspects fled back into Mexico.”
“According to a video apparently taken from the Mexican side of the Rio Grande by an unknown person, the helicopter hovered over the raft that was approaching the suspected smugglers (who by then had entered the water), which caused the raft to overturn,” according to the statement.
KRGV Channel 5 News reports the suspected cartel member, Juan Antonio-Ricardo Valdez, 17, has since been released from jail on a $10,000 surety bond after being booked on felony drug possession charges.
It is unclear which cartel Texas DPS believes Valdez to be a member of.