National Guard Soldier Finds Bag of Guns at US-Mexico Border

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A National Guard soldier deployed to the southern border found a bag of guns in Texas
A National Guard soldier deployed to the southern border found a bag of guns in Texas, U.S. Customs and Border Protection says. (U.S. Customs and Border Patrol)

A National Guard soldier deployed to the southern border found a bag of guns in Texas, U.S. Customs and Border Protection says.

Last week, a soldier assigned to the Eagle Pass South Station, less than 3 miles from Mexico, discovered an abandoned black gym bag in tall grass. Border agents at the scene found eight AK-47 style pistols and 10 30-round magazines.

Four of the weapons had already been reported stolen. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives took custody of the bag's contents.

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"This is the second time our agents encountered abandoned weapons and ammo in this area," Del Rio Sector Chief Patrol Agent Austin L. Skero II said in a Friday statement. "It's critical that our agents stay alert to all threats and work with our partners to stop criminal organizations from entering our communities."

It is unclear what unit was involved in discovering the weapons. U.S. Customs and Border Protection did not respond to a request for comment.

There are currently 3,800 National Guard troops deployed on the southern border, according to an Army spokesperson. The Guard has a long history of assisting law enforcement along the U.S.-Mexico border in California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas going back to the administrations of George W. Bush and Barack Obama.

Troops provide assistance with a range of tasks, including reconnaissance, air support, construction of border infrastructure and logistics.

The mission got widespread attention during Donald Trump's administration after he declared the situation a national emergency, opening up more funding and federal resources. He expanded the military's footprint as a component of his campaign promise to lock down the border. He added more than 5,000 troops on the border, surpassing the number of American forces in war zones abroad.

The Biden administration rolled back the Trump-era emergency declaration, but has not discussed significant changes to the Guard's mission.

The Guard's border mission continues amid the busiest time in its history after back-to-back missions the past year at home and overseas.

There are currently 32,000 Guardsmen supporting pandemic relief efforts, which includes vaccinating civilians, according to a Guard spokesperson. Just over 2,300 are on civil disturbance missions, including protecting the U.S. Capitol after the Jan. 6 assault. Some 20,000 Guardsmen are deployed overseas.

-- Steve Beynon can be reached at Steve.Beynon@military.com. Follow him on Twitter @StevenBeynon.

Related: Troops at US-Mexico Border Could Stay There for Three to Five Years, Report Says

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