HomeNewsAnalysisTwo US Agents Attacked: One Dead, Many Questions
ANALYSIS

Two US Agents Attacked: One Dead, Many Questions

MEXICO / 16 FEB 2011 BY INSIGHT CRIME EN

InSight has learned that the unidentified gunmen, responsible for killing one and wounding another U.S. agent in northern Mexico on Tuesday, may not have known the identities of their victims. According to sources consulted by InSight, the agents were detained while traveling on Highway 57, which connects San Luis Potosi to Mexico City. It is unclear whether the pair were stopped at a roadblock or forced off the road. The agents then rolled down the car window, reinforcing the theory that the assailants may have been wearing military garb, perhaps confusing the agents or causing them to believe this was a military roadblock. A perpetrator then stuck an AK-47 in the window, shooting one agent in the leg and another in the chest.

The two agents worked for the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Office of the U.S. Embassy in Mexico City. The agent shot in the chest, identified as Jaime Zapata, died from his injuries. The second agent, who remains unidentified, is hospitalized and in stable condition.

The shooting raises the question of whether the killings represent random acts of violence or a more sophisticated targeting of U.S personnel. This latest attack comes just under a year after the killing of Lesley Enriquez, who worked at the U.S Consulate in Juarez, and her husband. Both were shot and killed in their car in Juarez in March 2010. The murders remain unsolved.

In 2008, members of the Gulf Cartel attacked the U.S. Consulate in Monterrey, firing shots and launching a defective grenade at the building. But the most famous attack involving Mexican gunmen against U.S. personnel was the murder of Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) agent Enrique 'Kiki' Camarena. The subsequent crackdown, aided substantially by a bulked-up DEA investigative unit, led to the eventual dismantling of the Guadalajara Cartel.

The main question raised by this most recent attack on U.S. personnel is whether this indicates powerful drug cartels have moved beyond random acts of violence and have adopted a strategy of targeting American agents. InSight however is not yet prepared to draw such conclusions. Many basic facts still remain unclear but so far it appears this was an attack by chance, committed by assailants who were most likely wearing military uniform, possibly prompting the agents to lower their car window. Therefore it is unlikely that this action will prompt similar attention from U.S. authorities, as occurred with the targeted killing of Camarena in 1985.

share icon icon icon

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

What are your thoughts? Click here to send InSight Crime your comments.

We encourage readers to copy and distribute our work for non-commercial purposes, with attribution to InSight Crime in the byline and links to the original at both the top and bottom of the article. Check the Creative Commons website for more details of how to share our work, and please send us an email if you use an article.

Tags

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

Related Content

HONDURAS / 10 APR 2013

The US Treasury has added an aspiring congressman in Honduras to its "Kingpin" list in what is likely an attempt…

JALISCO CARTEL / 6 JUL 2018

A relatively new party in Mexico won big in a recent election, while the long-dominant political force suffered a crushing…

MEXICO / 12 JUL 2011

Mexican police have captured a U.S.-born suspected drug trafficking operative, who is allegedly one of the leaders of…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Tackles Illegal Fishing

15 OCT 2021

In October, InSight Crime and American University’s Center for Latin American and Latino Studies (CLALS) began a year-long project on illegal, unreported, unregulated (IUU) fishing in…

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Featured in Handbook for Reporting on Organized Crime

8 OCT 2021

In late September, the Global Investigative Journalism Network (GIJN) published an excerpt of its forthcoming guide on reporting organized crime in Indonesia.

THE ORGANIZATION

Probing Organized Crime in Haiti

1 OCT 2021

InSight Crime has made it a priority to investigate organized crime in Haiti, where an impotent state is reeling after the July assassination of President Jovenel Moïse, coupled with an…

THE ORGANIZATION

Emergency First Aid in Hostile Environments

24 SEP 2021

At InSight Crime's annual treat, we ramped up hostile environment and emergency first aid training for our 40-member staff, many of whom conduct on-the-ground investigations in dangerous corners of the region.

THE ORGANIZATION

Series on Environmental Crime in the Amazon Generates Headlines

17 SEP 2021

InSight Crime and the Igarapé Institute have been delighted at the response to our joint investigation into environmental crimes in the Colombian Amazon. Coverage of our chapters dedicated to illegal mining…