By Jon Dougherty

(NationalSentinel) U.S. Border Patrol agents came under gunfire from armed individuals inside Mexico believed to be associated with a criminal drug- and human-trafficking cartel on Friday while patrolling near the Rio Grande.

Agents were conducting a morning patrol via boat near Fronton, Texas, said  a news release from U.S. Customs and Border Patrol, when they reported shots fired from the Mexican riverbank.

CBP noted that there were multiple shooters, armed with automatic rifles, who fired more than 50 rounds at the watercraft, making contact several times.

No agents were wounded in the attack, CBP noted.

“Agents saw four subjects with automatic weapons who shot over 50 rounds at them,” CBP wrote. “The boat was hit several times but no one on board was injured.”

“This incident is currently under investigation,” the department added.

Breitbart News reported that the U.S. Border Patrol Rio Grande Sector immediately alerted Mexican officials to the attack.

A “Tamaulipas law enforcement source” told the news outlet that authorities could not find the cartel gunman who carried out the attack, but “did find ‘signs of activity.’”

The region has been a hotbed of smuggling activity and rival cartel warfare in recent months.

Cartel members injured two civilians during a firefight which lasted more than three hours earlier this week in Camargo, Mexico, Breitbart noted.

Some analysts believe the uptick in cartel-related violence is a result of increased border enforcement efforts by the Trump administration and the Mexican government. That includes the construction of new sectors of border wall, which is frustrating the cartels.

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“These are very sophisticated paramilitary operations with very smart logistics. Very smart operation. Very smart marketing. These are very sophisticated. Anybody that thinks the Mexican cartels are not very sophisticated does not understand the enemy we have,” former Trump adviser Steve Bannon told The Western Journal in an interview last week.

“There are sections up around northern Mexico — Juarez and sections around Juarez — that are much more dangerous than Afghanistan.”

Bannon, an advisory chairman to the group “We Build The Wall,” said he is currently overseeing construction of a high-tech border wall section in New Mexico. He noted that cartel members watch construction daily and some have been seen shaking their fists at the construction crews.

“During that time, they had the complete spotters right there from the cartel. You still see that there every day. The cartels are quite angry about this,” he said.

Recently, former DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielson estimated that cartels earn about $500 million annually just from human smuggling operations, though some believe that is a conservative figure.

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