Entries in Jaime Zapata (3)


Texas Man Linked to Gun in ICE Agent's Death

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The Texas man who allegedly bought one of the guns used to kill a U.S. agent in Mexico had been under surveillance as a suspected gun trafficker for a Mexican drug cartel, federal officials said Tuesday.

Otilio Osorio, one of three men arrested Monday in East Lancaster, Texas, by Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms agents, allegedly bought the pistol in October 2010, before federal law enforcement became aware that he might be involved in gun-running for the drug cartels.

The criminal complaint and ATF affidavit in the case against Osorio, his brother Ranferi Osorio and Kelvin Morrison, which was released Tuesday, said Mexican authorities have made a series of arrests related to the agent's killing and seized three firearms used in the attack.

"One of these firearms recovered is described as a Romaem-Cugir, model Draco, 7.62 pistol with an obliterated serial number," the affidavit said. "The firearm was traced by ATF to Otilio Osorio....Ballistic testing conducted on this firearm indicated that it was one of the three firearms used during the deadly assault on ICE Special Agent Zapata's vehicle."

Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent Jaime Zapata was killed Feb. 15, when his SUV was forced off the road between Monterrey and Mexico City, allegedly by a group of Zeta gunmen. Zapata and his partner were on official business at the time of the attack.

Two criminal complaints released Tuesday reveal that the Drug Enforcement Agency and ATF were tracking the Osorios in November 2010 as part of an investigation into the Zeta drug cartel and their efforts to acquire weapons in the United States to send them to Mexico.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Top US Officials Mourn Slain ICE Agent, Promise Justice

Photo Courtesy - U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement(BROWNSVILLE, Texas) -- Three of the nation's top law enforcement officials Tuesday eulogized slain U.S. special agent Jaime Zapata, who was gunned down in Mexico last week. They also pledged that his killers would be brought to justice.

"The U.S. and Mexico will bring the long, hard arm of the law down on Jaime and Victor's shooters," said an emotional Immigration and Customs Enforcement Director John Morton, addressing Zapata's parents at the funeral in Brownsville, Texas.

Zapata and fellow agent Victor Avila were returning to Mexico City from a training exercise in Monterrey when their armored SUV with diplomatic plates was chased off the road and later sprayed with gunfire. No arrests have been made in the case.

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said, "We will not relent or flinch or let up in any way in our determination to see that those responsible for his death will be held responsible for their crimes."

Alluding to the violent drug cartels believed to have ties to the attacks, Attorney General Eric Holder vowed officials would "eradicate the scourge" that led to Zapata's death. "That is how we will honor Agent Zapata, that is how we will pay tribute to him. And that is how we will ensure that his spirit will live on," he said.

The presence of three top Obama administration officials at Zapata's funeral underscores the seriousness of the attack, which was the highest-profile Mexican incident involving a U.S. government agent in more than 20 years. It also reflects a growing concern by law enforcement chiefs that U.S. agents may be becoming targets.

Zapata, 32, was a four-year ICE veteran based in Laredo, Texas, and Avila, was a six-year ICE veteran based in El Paso, Texas. Both men had been stationed at the U.S. Embassy in Mexico City as part of a human smuggling and border security enforcement task force.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Services for Customs Agent Killed in Mexico Begin Monday

Photo Courtesy - U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement(BROWNSVILLE, Texas) -- A visitation and rosary service will be held in Brownsville, Texas Monday for the U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement agent that was killed by gunmen in Mexico last week.

Special Agent Jaime Zapata and another agent were driving between Mexico City and Monterrey on Feb. 15 when they were attacked by ten gunmen, leaving Zapata fatally wounded and the other agent with injuries to the arm and leg, according to U.S. officials.

According to The Brownsville Herald, the viewing and rosary service for Zapata will be held at the Brownsville Events Center.  His funeral Mass will be held on Tuesday morning at the same location, followed by a procession to the Rose Lawn Memorial Gardens in Brownsville, where Zapata will be buried.

The agent's viewing, rosary service, and funeral Mass will be open to the public.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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