In a brazen afternoon attack, one Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agent (ICE), Jamie Zapata was murdered and another agent was wounded in the arm and leg when the federal officers were stopped at a road block on their way to Monterrey, Mexico.
The ICE agents were part of a special ICE Attaché office in Mexico City working with local authorities to curtail the exploding violence throughout the drug-cartel ravaged country.
It is being reported that the ICE agents were on duty traveling in a government-issued SUV with diplomatic plates from Mexico City to Monterrey along Highway 57 in the northern state of San Luis Potosi, a known cartel-controlled corridor, when they were ambushed at a road block.
Early reports say members from the Los Zetas cartel opened fire inside the SUV after agents rolled down their window to show their U.S. badges. Zapata was shot many times in the abdomen and died on the scene.
Details are still emerging from Mexico where U.S. officials have stated they will assist with the investigation of the crime, but have decided to let Mexican authorities take the lead.
“I’m deeply saddened by the news that earlier today, two U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) special agents assigned to the ICE Attaché office in Mexico City were shot in the line of duty while driving between Mexico City and Monterrey by unknown assailants,” said Secretary of Department of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano.
“Let me be clear: any act of violence against our ICE personnel – or any DHS personnel – is an attack against all those who serve our nation and put their lives at risk for our safety. The full resources of our Department are at the disposal of our Mexican partners in this investigation. We remain committed in our broader support for Mexico’s efforts to combat violence within its borders,” Napolitano said in a statement.
The murder of an ICE agent renews fears and anxiety about the sustained brutality of Mexico’s narco war and it remains to be seen how serious the Obama Administration is when it comes to America’s third war.
While the Department of Homeland Security continues to pander that America’s southern borders are more secure than ever, the murder of a federal agent along with a slew of American citizens proves the cartels are testing the waters of the Obama Administration.
Last March in Ciudad Juarez, a town that borders El Paso, Texas, an American Consulate employee and her husband were gunned down in their car after they left a children’s birthday party.
This attack met with little response from the Obama Administration and sources say it has set the stage for more American lives to be taken.
It has been less than two months since Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry was murdered by suspected drug smugglers some 30 miles north of the Mexican/Arizona border. His murder remains unsolved.
Last time a federal agent was murdered in Mexico was Kiki Camerana, who was kidnapped and tortured to death while working undercover for the DEA in 1985. An outraged Reagan Administration aggressively investigated the murder (they launched Operation Leyenda, the largest DEA homicide investigation ever undertaken), found the suspects and extradited the Mexican nationals to the U.S. where they stood trial for the murder.
Meanwhile the ICE community is left reeling from a tragic death.
“This is a difficult time for ICE and especially for the families and loved ones of our agents. Our hearts and prayers go out to them. This tragedy is a stark reminder of the risks confronted and the sacrifices made by our men and women every day,” said the Director of ICE John Morton.
The Mexican government issued a statement condemning the attack and said they would work with the U.S. to find the killers responsible for Zapata’s murder.
The Mexican four-year narco war has taken 35,000 lives in Mexico and shows no signs of waning.
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