By Charles S. Clark
February 16, 2011Two federal agents assigned to anti-drug trafficking operations in Mexico City were shot on Monday as they drove toward the capital from Monterrey, the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency announced. ICE special agent Jaime Zapata died of his wounds, while a second special agent, still unidentified, is hospitalized in stable condition with wounds to his arm and leg.
According to a Washington Post report, Mexican police said the ICE agents driving a darkened SUV were attacked in the state of San Luis Potosi on Highway 57 near the town of Santa Maria Del Rio. Zapata previously worked in the ICE Laredo office, as part of the human smuggling and trafficking unit and the Border Enforcement Security Task Force, the Post said.
ICE Director John Morton said in a statement, "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. We are working closely with our partners here in the United States and in Mexico to ensure those responsible for this senseless act are brought to justice."
Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano also released a statement, saying she was "deeply saddened by the news" that the agents had been shot in the line of duty.
U.S. law enforcement agencies are "working closely with Mexican authorities who are investigating the shooting to ensure the perpetrators of this unconscionable crime are captured as quickly as possible," she said. "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."
By Charles S. Clark
February 16, 2011