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AUSTIN, Texas (Reuters) - U.S. Customs and Border Protection inspectors returned 33 Mexican soldiers on Tuesday who inadvertently crossed over the Rio Grande river into Texas, authorities said.
"They were processed according to protocols, and they were released and returned to Mexico without incident or charges," he added, declining to say whether the troops were armed.
In a statement late Tuesday, the Mexican military said the troops "unintentionally" crossed over the bridge while they were carrying out reconnaissance on the border.
The bridge links the Rio Grande Valley in South Texas with a stretch of Mexico's northern Tamaulipas state where the rival Gulf cartel and Zetas gang are locked in a bloody war for lucrative trafficking routes.
But a source outside of law enforcement and with knowledge of border activity said the soldiers were chasing a South Texas resident who had crossed into Mexico, and although the soldiers did not capture the individual, U.S. authorities did.