SAN DIEGO (AP) — Mexican ambulance crews in Tijuana, upset by a recent inspection by American customs agents, are threatening to leave injured Americans short of the border.
The ambulance crews typically take injured Americans to the U.S. border, where they are picked up by American paramedics.
But some of the ambulances are forced to undergo a search; earlier this year, U.S. Customs inspectors say they found 114 pounds of marijuana in a Mexican ambulance.
The latest search happened on May 18 when a Mexican ambulance that had delivered two Americans that were injured in an accident was waved into inspection lanes by U.S. Customs officials.
The crew was released after several hours when a supervisor delivered the necessary paperwork.
Alfredo Escobedo, head of Rescate Halcones ambulance service, said the men felt humiliated.
Antonio Rosquillas, Tijuana’s civil protection chief, said he considered it a “very serious international incident.”
Unless conditions improve within two weeks, Escobedo said, Mexican rescue crews will leave injured Americans at the international line, in crowded traffic lanes leading to the U.S. Customs checkpoint.
But customs officials defended the stop. The ambulance was unmarked and its crew lacked identification and registration, spokeswoman Bobbie Cassidy said.
“Our people were certainly doing the right job to certify that the ambulance was not stolen,” Ms. Cassidy said.