Infantry soldier dies in Arizona while on border mission

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A soldier from the 7th Infantry Division serving on the southern border of the United States has been found dead in Arizona.

The identity of the soldier will not be released until next of kin are notified, but the body was found on June 1 near Nogales, about 65 miles south of Tucson, according to Major Mark Lazane, spokesman for the U.S. Northern Command, which oversees the mission to support U.S. Customs and Border Protection along the southern border.

The death is being investigated, but “no foul play is suspected,” Lazane said.

The case is also being investigated by the Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Department and the FBI, as the federal territory where the soldier was found falls under their jurisdiction, he added.

Soldiers from 7th ID at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash., are among more than 2,000 U.S. service members participating in the Border Patrol Agent Support Mission to try to stop migrants from crossing illegally.

In April, two soldiers patrolling along the southern Texas border were arrested and questioned by Mexican troops. The handful of Mexican soldiers pointed their guns at the American soldiers, believing that they had crossed the border into Mexico. However, the American troops were north of the border and the Mexican troops left.

The mission, which mainly involves logistical, air and surveillance support, is authorized to continue until September.

— Matthew Cox can be reached at matthew.cox@military.com.

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