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Border Patrol target of U.S., Mexican probe

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SAN DIEGO, Calif. — U.S. and Mexican officials are investigating a report that Border Patrol agents crossed into Mexico to capture suspected illegal immigrants.

"This was not accidental. This was intentional," said Rita Vargas Torregrosa, the Mexican consul in the border town of Calexico. "Things are very irregular in this case."

Mexican officials quoted witnesses as reporting the border incursion by two agents, and Vargas said more than a dozen people saw it.

Border Patrol agents met on Friday with Mexican consular officials and representatives of a Mexican border crime task force, Border Patrol spokesman Manuel Figueroa said.

The incident allegedly occurred on Thursday eight miles east of the Calexico border crossing, Figueroa said. He said the allegations are under investigation.

"Some people were arrested. Apparently, someone's claiming they were arrested in Mexico," he said. "The agents felt they were in the United States."

The four were released the same day, Figueroa said.

Vargas said one of the agents crossed the border but didn't go far. "The other entered a kilometer into Mexican territory pursuing a group of seven migrants," she said.

The area lacks a border fence and the border markers there are miles apart, Figueroa said.

Vargas said the All-American Canal is an obvious border marker, but Figueroa said the canal only loosely follows the border and is up to a mile north of the boundary in places.

Border conflicts have been a chronic problem.

In April, Mexican soldiers and U.S. police briefly faced off with weapons drawn inside a flood control tunnel connecting Nogales, Mexico, and Nogales, Ariz. The Mexican soldiers were on an anti-drug mission and accidentally crossed about 6 feet into U.S. territory, Mexican officials said.

In March, two Mexican army trucks crossed into U.S. territory in a remote area south of Santa Teresa, N.M., and soldiers fired at Border Patrol agents. Mexican officials said the soldiers were on a drug-enforcement mission and did not realize they had crossed the border.