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Jaime Jorge Zapata, a 32 years old US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) special agent, was killed on February 15th during a drug gang attack in Mexico.
He and his colleague, Victor Avila, were driving on a Mexican highway on the way between Monterrey and Mexico City, in the state of Saint Luis Potosì, when their vehicle was forced by the members of the Mexican drug cartel known as Los Zetas, which opened fire against the ICE agents in an ambush. Agent Avila was only injured at the leg while Jaime Zapata, shoot five times in the chest, died.
He joined ICE in 2006 and was temporary assigned to the ICE attaché office of the US Embassy in Mexico City, to the human smuggling and trafficking unit. About 30 are the ICE agents in Mexico, and they are not authorized by the Mexican Government to carry firearms.
The Los Zetas drug gang members have been identified as the liable of the ambush and have been arrested by the Mexican authorities right after the attack. They are .Julian Zapata Espinoza, the gang’s leader, Jesus Ivan Quesada Pena, Ruben Diario Venegas, both of Honduras; Armando Alvarez Saldana, Mario Dominguez Realeo and Martin Barcenas Tapia, all of Mexico.
Other two alleged leads Sergio “El Toto” Mora and Luis Miguel Rojo have been arrested one week later with the charge of been also connected with the killing. During the raid on four safe houses in the San Luis Potosì area were seized five rifles, a handgun, an indeterminate amount of cash, ammunition clips and five vehicles, including a bulletproof one. In addition were seized also payroll forms for the gunmen who belonged to the gang.
The leader of the gang, Julian Zapata Espinoza nicknamed the “Tweety bird”, declared that the attack was just a case of mistaken identity,they thought the two US Immigration agents belonged to a rival drug cartel gang of Mexico, he officially said. The incident remains under investigation, but officials have said that the team of gunmen opened fire after Zapata showed his US government identification.
Anyway the announcement of the arrests made by the Mexican authorities have been welcome by the US authorities as a sign of collaboration and development.
“We are encouraged by this action and appreciate the efforts by Mexico to bring Special Agent Zapata’s killers to justice” said the ICE Director John Morton .“ It is important to remember that this is an ongoing investigation, and we will continue to work closely with our law enforcement partners in Mexico and in the United States as it unfolds. We continue to hold the Zapata family in our thoughts and prayers, and look forward to a swift resolution of this case,” he added.
Mexico and USA will keep working together to solve the case. President Obama thanked the Mexican President Felipe Calderon for the efforts that his country is doing to bring to justice the murders of the US agent Zapata.
The fact that the two countries can work so closely is a good demonstration of the collaboration of ICE and the Mexican authorities in the struggle to smuggling and drug traffic,which has meant the death of an agent who was there to do his hard work.