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02/16/2011

ICE special agents brutally attacked; suspects sought by authorities

 ICE Special Agent Jaime Zapata was shot and killed in the line of duty Tuesday afternoon in Mexico.
ICE Special Agent Jaime Zapata was shot and killed in the line of duty Tuesday afternoon in Mexico.

WASHINGTON - U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Special Agent Jaime Zapata was shot and killed in the line of duty Tuesday afternoon after he was attacked by unknown assailants while driving between Monterrey, Mexico, and Mexico City. During the attack, a second ICE special agent was shot twice in the leg. He has been transported back to the United States and is in stable condition. Both special agents were assigned to ICE's attaché office in Mexico City.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with the Zapata family for their tragic loss," said ICE Director John Morton. "May the work we continue to do as an agency be worthy of a sacrifice as great as the one made by Special Agent Zapata."

Special Agent Zapata joined ICE in 2006. He was assigned to the Office of the Deputy Special Agent in Charge in Laredo, Texas, where he served on the Human Smuggling and Trafficking Unit as well as the Border Enforcement Security Task Force. He most recently was detailed to ICE's attaché office at the U.S. Embassy in Mexico City.

Special Agent Zapata began his federal law enforcement career with the Department of Homeland Security as a member of the U.S. Border Patrol in Yuma, Arizona. A native of Brownsville, Texas, Special Agent Zapata graduated from the University of Texas at Brownsville in 2005 with a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice.

U.S. law enforcement agencies continue to work closely with Mexican authorities who are investigating the shooting to ensure the perpetrators of this unconscionable crime are captured as quickly as possible. The full resources of the Department of Homeland Security are at the disposal of our Mexican partners in this investigation.